The sporadic ramblings of Emily C. A. Snyder - devoted to God, theatre, writing, and much randominity.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

Artistic Director and Co-Founder of TURN TO FLESH PRODUCTIONS. | Author of "Nachtstürm Castle," "Niamh and the Hermit." | Playwright: "Cupid and Psyche," "Math for Actors." | Classical director and educator.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The candle burns at both ends

It will not last the night
But oh, my foes, and oh, my friends -
It gives a lovely light.

~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

Mes cheres et mesdemoiselles, hugs and thanks! And laughter. It's quite flattering that there is the thought that my current romance is the traditional sort - but it's simply the result of a workaholic who is also a romantic, no romances with other workaholics! I fear I've made myself more obscure. Regardless, the well-wishes are VERY much appreciated. And as for the romance with various works, please do keep that in prayer. I can't be more specific here, alas. Kristen, you will probably understand the concept of moving from one pantheon to another in the sphere we work in. The very thought is so full of excitement, possibility - and utter terror, and a feeling of betrayal. But it's out of my hands now - the libation has been poured and I wait to discover whether it has been deemed acceptable by TPTB. Anywho.... On to far less obscure randominity.

  • I'm reading my first Connie Willis book (author of To Say Nothing of the Dog that Annie so highly recommends) called Passages. I'm only a little bit over a third through, but I find my brain working oddly whilst reading it. The plot is that this one secular doctor joins another secular doctor to simulate Near Death Experiences to find out what actually is being experienced (and of course to debunk any super- or paranormal explanation). So far it looks like it has something to do with space/time-travelling to other ships. Erm.... I'm going to finish it out because I'm desperate for a new book, regardless of two rather significant difficulties:

    1) It's not as well-written as I would like. Obviously it's not as atrocious as, say, The Da Vinci Code, but it reminds me of why I don't generally enjoy "realistic" fiction - or rather, fiction that takes place in the modern world. The worldbuilding is so clunky! Everything must be explained several times over, as though the audience didn't know the world we ourselves lived in! Then again, random phrases aren't explained at all. And marketing is thrown in everywhere. Gaaaaaaaaaaaah! And then the characters tend to be repetitive in what they say - say a thing, think a thing, say the thing again. Baaaaaaaaaaaah! Bad bad naughty writing technique! It explains why Goodkind and Brown are considered acceptable literature if this is the modern technique - which is to say no technique at all; no grace, no subtlety, no deeper insight through omniscient passages, no looking outward, no looking inward, only looking at candy wrappers. Mmmmmmmmmnghfphthptppppt! Bah bah bah.

    2) The worldview. C'mon - the set up is that two secular doctors try so very hard to show that there's nothing supernatural about "NDE's" and then the potential romantic boy and girl appear to be split up and then we end up going from ship to ship? What the...?! Look, if you're going to do some sort of paranormal thingy, fine - just at least let it be about the guy and girl experiencing it together and going beyond themselves and getting past their own workaholicness or whateverness - preconceptions - and meeting each other as human beings on The Other Side of Death. That would be interesting. But with where it's going - it just looks all sorts of deconstructiony, and I can't agree with that worldview. Pardon the eternal romantic, but I'm afraid that my hope, faith and love trump your randominity.

    But as I said, I need the eggs. Or at least something to read, rather than to merely watch. Or edit. Or grade. Or direct. Which brings me to....

  • Veronica Mars. Again, not sure if I want to continue the series (darn you overarching plots!) except, again, the hook remains that I want to know who killed Lilly Kane and what Mrs. Mars has been up to. But...high school like that? OK, OK, I work in a very, very small Catholic school in the middle of suburbia. And yes, OK, I know some stupid ye olde merrie typical stuff my kids or other kids have been up to. And I remember back to my own high school days and hearing about the stupid stuff some kids got into. there is too much. Let me sum up.

    Right, this is my issue: what is right and what is normal? The writers on VM keep pushing that if only Veronica could solve the mystery, clear her dad's name, and - apparently - find and keep a boyfriend, she could return to the popular kids (who in this set-up are very popular due to OC'ness) and therefore have a "normal teenagerhood." Well, wait a minute. Since when is being a "popular kid" in High School the least bit normal? Those kids tend to be, perhaps, ten percent of the student body - so statistically, they're not the norm. They also tend to screw themselves up the most - so morally, they're not the norm. And, as much as one might want to be popular - or at least well liked in High School - at least for myself I always knew it was all a sham that wouldn't (and didn't) last past High School. Now, since the chances that the writers of VM were much more like me, and since it's a safe bet that they're none of them in High School now - how the hell are they stupid enough to perpetuate a myth they know to be completely bogus? Now, granted, I'm only on the sixth episode, so perhaps there's an arc where VM learns (in a very special way) that, indeed, normal isn't the mythological popular ideal.

    Regarding morality: we're supposed to be concerned with Lilly Kane's murder. I am, only insofaras I want justice served and one of my fav. actor's TV reputation cleared. As for Lilly, though, as a "person" - hwell, she seemed kind of a skank, ditz, etc. I mean, I don't see what was so great about her that her death is a tragedy of all that's good. I'm waiting to see why her death is equivalent to Hamlet mourning his father, here. She was definitely no saint. And that's another problem: neither is Veronica, although she's made out to be the Nancy Drew spunky savior (complete with a Sydney Bristow rip-off in one episode!) - but her own morals are somewhat...dubious. See, that's the thing about mysteries: justice and goodness are served - not dubiosity. So, in the latest episode, Veronica gallantly doesn't vote for her "outcast" friend (who also mysteriously fell from grace) because her friend is a narc. Sorry? This is a problem? In the previous episode, she helps a guy who lost this package of drugs get off the hook, and then apparently doesn't turn in her ex-boyfriend who tried to steal the drugs. Now, granted, she doesn't let anyone GET the drugs, and she arrests the guy who originally commissioned the pick-up but...! Or what about the transsexual episode? What the...?!??!?!

    Times like these, I can be fooled into thinking Massachusetts isn't the lowest circle of Hell. Anywho - I know it's all a TV show, but art attempts to be a reflection of reality - or ought to - and all I'm wondering is how accurate is VM? One more gripe: the dialogue is nowhere near as good as Buffy. (Alright, laugh away all those who think I'm about to extol and exonerate Buffy from all its own moral and normal shortcomings - it was still a better show overall than VM [at least thus far].) Let me just explain why Buffy is better written: it made the dialogue sparkling and effortless and smart. In VM, the seams all show. And no thesaurus or Brittanica is needed, only a TV Guide. It tries to be hip and timely but ends up being stilted. The best dialogue is when they drop the pseudo-Buffy-chic and instead just write realistic dialogue. Is realistic as cool as Wheadonspeak? No. Nothing currently is ever as clever as Wheadonspeak - but art isn't made by imitation but by finding one's own voice. VM needs to (and I hope has) done so between the episode from last year I'm on and whatever second season episode they're currently on.

    Oh, last gripe overall about modern TV series: would the gaffers please turn on the lights? Aaaaaaaaaaaaarugh! Lost is perhaps the only TV series that I've watched lately that's well-lit. Everything else is in moody half-flourescent lights that barely let us make out the important non-explicated (which should be explicated!) information that's flashing on the screen! Bah bah bah!

  • But anywho, none of that is neither here nor there. Mass tonight, alleluia! Superbowl, meh. Perhaps writing this year's Passion later, alleluia! Times with the house to self time being unwantedly invated, grrrrr. Family, alleluia! Decisions, meh. Did I mention family, alleluia? Family. Alleluia.

    Mood: Curioser and curioser
    Music: Buffy soundtrack. But I think I might stick on Mary Poppins or something equally chipper instead.
    Thought: I'm going to begin the official anti-angst league. Bwahahahhahahahh!


    Blogger Lauryl said...

    Oh gosh, I am SO with you re: lighting... TV is bad enough, what about these big-budget films? I don't remember what we were watching the other night-- Cinderella Man or The Interpreter, no doubt, and I kept having Sammy adjust the brightness and contrast on our TV, because you can't see a bloody thing! What's the point? We might as well go back to radio dramas at this stage in the game...

    2:28 PM  

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