Sunday, March 1, 2015

For The Love Of Words

I've seen two movies recently that have made me wonder about my love affair with the cinema vs. my love affair with books. 

The first movie I remember going to see in a theatre was one of the "Pink Panther" sequels. I'm not sure which one, but I remember being dazzled by the camera work. I think it took place in the south of France, which looked as glamorous as I'm sure it must be.  It was a caper -- which is my favorite kind of movie. And Peter Sellers made me laugh.  

I fell in love with the written word at a much younger age, and so books must be considered my first love. Laura Ingalls Wilder took me to the banks of Plum Creek, Agatha Christie took me to an English Country manor in Torquay and I never wanted to go home.Both of these authors have had their works successfully transferred onto film and television. In some cases, I've enjoyed their stories as they were told on television and film even better than I ever enjoyed their books. 

And so I find it intriguing that two books I was really looking forward to seeing adapting as movies, "Fifty Shades Of Grey" and "The Fault In Our Stars" fell so short in their big screen adaptations.

It wasn't just that the emotion I felt while I was reading the books wasn't on the screen. It was that all the little itty bitty details that were so important in my mind when I was reading the book weren't there. And that's what put me in the story and kept there and made me continue to turn the page. It was the worldbuilding that is done in books -- that is often taken for granted in film and television because it becomes part of the background.  

For example, in "Fifty Shades," Christian gives Ana first edition books by Thomas Hardy. In the movie, the focus of the gift is that the books cost $14,000. (I'm not sure they mention the title of the books in the movie -- but it was Tess of D'Urbervilles.) In the book, it's not the cost of the books that are as important as the quote that he sends with the books. It is a warning of what temptations lay ahead. 

In "The Fault in Our Stars" the old Swingset of Tears where Gus charms Hazel Grace in seen on screen but lacks all of the romance it had in the book.  It's just a swingset. It's small and useless, and not as important as it seemed in the book. 

These were key elements for me in the stories. Why weren't they   given enough reverence in the movies?  Personally I don't think it's a fault of the filmmakers in either case, but rather the fact that the camera just can't do these kind of things justice. They become objects in front of the lens, rather than story beats.

I'm certain that the best and brightest screenwriters were selected to adapt both of these books into screenplays. I can't fault the writers. I'm sure they attempted to grab the essence of the book and put it into the screenplay, so what went wrong?

Is it just because I'm pre-disposed to love books more than movies? What is it about the written word that completely enthralls and enchants me. Is it words or is it my imagination?

I don't have an answer just yet, but it's a question I want to continue to explore. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

All The Pretty Young Things

Oscar season was once my favorite time of year. Things change. Now I hardly know the nomineeds. I haven't seen the films. Not sure I care who wins. Not emotionally invested. The Academy seems very white, very old and very male to me.

I love to watch the gowns go by on the red carpet. You know, I like fashion. Fashion just doesn't like me.

And so it was a bit of a surprise to me when wome stirred up controversy on the red carpet last night. First there was this little bit of a move in the right direction. Thank you #askhermore and Reese Witherspoon. Nice to know these talented actresses are more than just coat hangers.

And then poor Patricia Arquette. She attempted to make a move in the right direction. She had J. Lo and Meryl Streep signed on to her cause and then she made a few slips of the tongue in the press room after collecting her prize. Does make her cause null and void? I hope not.

It's an intriguing time to be alive.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Fat Lady Hasn't Sung Yet

I can't begin to tell you what a thrill it was to wake up this morning to hear Harper Lee was going to publish a new book this summer. And the star of the new book is Scout. Please clear my schedule. I don't have time for that now. I'm reading. Read all about it!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A New Year's Resolution

I am always a little reluctant to make a new year's resolution. Especially about things like exercise and diet. It seems those only ever last a week or two. And what's the point? Changing your exercise and diet plans are a committment to a new lifestyle, not a resolution. A resolution is like a declaration. An annoucement of an intention. I like to make my resolutions simple. I usually choose one word and attempt to live by it for as long as I can. And when I stray from it -- I remind myself, this was the year of "insert inspirational word here."

The year I began dating my husband, my word was "bliss". I'm not sure what that means about our relationship, but I do remember many things about the beginning of our relationship that were filled with great joy.

2014 was a year filled with ups and downs. I triumphed in many writing contests. I failed in many more. I was rejected by many agents and editors. I was asked to submit to a couple of others. I made baby steps in my career, but I am far from satisfied with my progress.

December was a big downer. If 2014 started out with fireworks, it ended with a flicker in the dark. I have struggled. I have complained. I have been unable to find my way.

And after much searching, I have found my word. It is not the word I was expecting. It is not the word of an optimist. Or maybe it is.

In 2015, my word is "fearless." Let's see what that might bring.