Blog Summary

A blog for poetry, prose, and pop culture.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Assorted Nuts!

Hey all,

So yeah, I've been absent for a while. A lot of drama has been going on with my personal and professional life and it's been in a huge turmoil. I've been targeting a slight reboot of the site in the new year. I promise to get back to poetry, Flash Fiction, and finishing the latest Under A Dead Sun storyline, as well as working on some new stuff. In the meantime, I promised a friend of mine a new Christmas story and I posted one. Hopefully its just a fun, feel good tale of Christmas romance that you can enjoy.

Check back in January for a slightly new look and some new content. I haven't given up on this little dream of writing yet, and I'm hoping to have a better year that 2010 was.

End of Line.

Flash Fiction: Merry Christmas Abby

The snow storm had gotten worse in the last hour as Abby DeVale looked out the window. The tarmac was covered in sleet and ice, and the mild snow storm that had been so cute and quaint three days ago had now closed the airport. She has been on assignment for work, snapping photographs in Alaska for the magazine. Yet here she was, now, on Christmas Eve, far from home. The airport had been closed for the past two days, it was a smaller airport, the kind designed for Cessna and local charter flights. She was supposed to have taken her charter flight to Anchorage and catch her connecting flight flight home to Seattle, but those chances had been dashed by the sudden blizzard.

Abby thought back to the previous week, when the magazine had asked to to shoot the pictorial at the last minute. The magazine usually used Norman Adders, he'd been the senior photographer for the last 15 years. Abby had only been with the company six months. Still Norman's wife had been in a car accident and he didn't want to leave her. With it being Christmas week, no one else wanted the assignment. Abby saw it as an opportunity. By taking the gig she could prove herself to the editors and hopefully get some better assignments in the future. They were already raving about the images she had emailed back and had hinted that she may even be up for the New York assignment next month based on what she had shot.

The only downside had been David, her boyfriend. He had said all the right things, acted so positively when she had gleefully informed him about the opportunity the magazine was giving her. It was only now, when she looked back on it, that she could see the hurt in his eyes. This had been their first true Christmas together, despite dating for the last three years. David had been in the military when they had first met, a photographer for the US Army deployed in Iraq. He'd been giving a lecture at Abby's university, showing some footage he had shot in Afghanistan. She'd hung around after class to ask him questions. She always said it was a professional interest that had intrigued her, but truth be known she had thought he was cute. They eventually met for coffee, and within the first date they both knew it was something special.

Abby and David had a long distance relationship most of that first year, her finishing school in Los Angles while David continued his tour of duty. Even after David's tour finished, he worked as a civilian liaison to the military, coordinating many of the journalists who followed the military in action. That was how they had finished their second Christmas as a couple. Abby finished school and took a job for a small magazine operating out of Seattle and David and her leased a small apartment together. The relationship worked because both loved to travel and both loved what they did, and it made each moment they spent together that much more special. Abby suspected now that David had been looking forward more to this Christmas than she had first suspected.

Abby stared out the window into the snow storm and suddenly felt very, very alone. Trapped so far away from David, and alone on Christmas Eve. She watched the dull overcast of the afternoon fade slowly into the dark whiteness of snow at night, sitting at the window, her feet tucked beneath her. She stayed there until the airline attendant came and told her that the snow wouldn't be letting up anytime soon. He also told her that since tomorrow was Christmas, there wouldn't be any flights out. Abby nodded numbly, pulling on her overcoat. She wrapped herself into her warmest clothes, securing her scarf and putting on her gloves and mittens as the attendant arranged to give her a ride to the little bed and breakfast that she had been staying at the past two days. They hurried together to the car and slowly drove to her room. Abby muttered her thanks, watching the snow rage against the window of the car.

She told the attendant goodbye and hurried into the home. There was a roaring fire in the hearth of the common room as Abby got her key from the hostess. The old woman who ran the inn gave her a smile and a hug, telling her not to feel so sad on Christmas Eve. Abby gave a small lopsided smile, and nodded, before trudging back upstairs. All she wanted to do right now was to curl up under the covers of the bed and cry. Every time her mind wandered, she could see the hurt in David's eyes when she left, she could hear the longing in his voice when she had called him. Now that she wouldn't be home on Christmas, she dreaded calling him. She never really knew how much Christmas had meant to her before. She thought about the dinner that David had planned to have, the candles lit by the window overlooking the Puget Sound, the smell of his herb roasted chicken. Just a quiet evening with the man she loved. It was only in that moment that Abby really understood that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with David.

Abby reached her room and thumbed in the key, pushing the door open, her bags tucked under her arms. She expected the dark cool of her room, but was surprised by the soft red glow of cinnamon scented candles. Her bed was covered in white rose petals, like snowflakes on a field of deep red. She dropped her bags, covering her mouth in shock as David emerged from the bathroom. He was wearing a black suit and tie, a huge smile on his face as he approached Abby. She was speechless, her eyes wide as David came right up to her. He gave her a huge smile and lowered himself to one knee. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small black box, opening it as he looked up deeply into Abby's eyes. She gave a small shudder as tears begin to flow from her eyes as she stared at the slivery glint of the wedding ring resting in the box.


It was all she managed to stammer as David pulled teh ring from the box, reaching for her hand with his free one.

"A little snow wasn't going to ruin my Christmas plans with you. I'm so proud of you for doing this assignment, and I'd never ask you to choose between an assignment and me, you never have and that's one of the reasons I love you so much. This is our first Christmas where we were going to be together though, and I couldn't bear the thought of not spending it with you. After you told me about the snowstorm yesterday I called your pilot, who confided in me that the chance of you getting clearance for today was going to be next to impossible. I took a flight to Anchorage and rented a car, I drove all night to make sure that I was hear for when you got home. I have a very important question to ask you that just couldn't wait until the 26th. Abby DeVale, I love you more than life itself, and every time I come home to you that love deepens. I want to spend the rest of my life coming home to you. I love you. Will you be my wife."

Abby nodded furiously as he slipped the ring on her finger. She looked at the gem sparkling back at her through thick tears, her shock only broken by a deep kiss from David.

"Merry Christmas Abby."

End of Line.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Flash Fiction: Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat

Bobby Hodges pushed his mask onto the top of his head and hefted the pillow case he had been using as a bag all night to inspect his haul. The bag was at least three quarters full and a lot of it was quality candy too. None of that candy corn or those orange and black wrapped things that he hated. He was especially looking forward to that full size Snickers Bar that Old Man Holliday had given out. Full size candy, truly the holy grail of Halloween candy treats. All in all, it had been an impressive night of trick or treating and he had managed to hit his whole neighborhood plus the apartment complex next to their development.

This was the first year his parents had allowed him to go out on his own. He had just turned 13 and had been helping out watching his kid brother after school since Mom had gotten that part time job at the Toys ‘R Us a month back. Mom had said it was just cause she was bored, but he knew things had been tough this year. She was probably working there to save some money for Christmas. He’d even re-used his costume from last year to help out, not that he really cared if he was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle again, Bobby Hodges was all about the candy. Still as a reward they had let him go trick or treating with his friends instead of going with them and his kid brother, Kevin. He’d agreed to be home by 9:30, but most of his friends had to be home by 9:00. That’s when he decided to hit the apartment complex.

Bobby looked at the light up display on his watch and realized he only had 8 minutes to make it home before he was late. He swung the pillow case over his shoulder and tossed the dying glow stick he had pulled off the of his neck into the street. He grabbed the plastic Bo staff that went with his costume (cause Donatello was his favorite Ninja Turtle) and hurried down the street towards his house.

There were still a few people on the street trick or treating and he watched them as he made his way home. He recognized a lot of the costumes, Spider-Man, Batman, Princesses, skeletons and ghosts, and a whole lot of vampires, even girl ones. There were a few he didn’t though, like the guy dressed like some kind of yellow square with pants or the kids with the bulky metal headbands and orange karate suits. It didn’t rest long on his mind though as he rounded the last corner, coming up on Oak Street, his street.

Bobby lived at the end of the street, before it rounded left and made a big loop back towards the main avenue. All of the houses were pretty much the same on the outside, there were really only four models to choose from. His parents had chosen the only two story model and had it built, their dream house. Bobby had lived here practically his whole life. His dad loved Halloween though and always decorated the house. Some years they even did a haunted house in the garage, though not this year. Probably because of Mom having to go back to work. Still Dad had gotten out the old decorations and had done the place up grand. The hanging skeleton, the smoke machine, the creepy music, spider webs, the works. Dad usually dressed up as Frankenstein too and handed out candy from the lawn chair he sat up in the front yard.

Bobby slowed his pace as his house came into sight, realizing that something wasn’t quite right. He walked the last few steps and stood in front of his house, confused. It was his house all right, but all the decorations were gone. He didn’t understand, he had helped his Dad put them up two weeks ago. Heck, they had been there just a couple of hours ago before he went trick or treating. But they were gone. The hanging skeleton, the fog machine, the creepy music, heck even the porch light was off. They never turned the porch light off when he was outside after dark, let alone on Halloween. Yet here the house was, dark and plain, so unlike what Bobby remembered.

Bobby walked up to the front door and walked through, entering the dark foyer. The whole house was dark, just a single light on in the living room, the light that his Mom always left on when they left the house. Bobby began to wonder if both of his parents had taken Kevin out trick or treating after he realized the whole house was empty. The kitchen and living room was dark and his parent’s room was empty. Dad’s wallet and keys weren’t in the bowl by the door though, so that meant they HAD to have left. Bobby shrugged it off though and headed upstairs to his room, candy in tow. All that meant was he could sneak a few Three Musketeers bars before his folks came home. He pushed open the door to his room and flung his mask onto the bed and dropped his bag of candy in the middle of the floor to his room. He turned his desk lamp on, shedding some light in the dim house.

Something was odd about his room though too. It was his room all right, it was just…different. His posters were still on the wall, Spider-Man and the Turtles and Super Mario staring down at him, but his room was clean, un-naturally clean. His Lego stacked neatly in their bin, his action figures put away in their cases, his books and desk neatly organized. Even his bed was made, and unless his Grandma was coming over Bobby NEVER made his bed. Bobby shrugged it away again and began rummaging through his bag of candy. He turned on the TV in his room while he rummages, watching the end of It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown before he fell asleep, half a Twix bar uneaten in his hand.

Frank and Marilynn Hodge came home at 10:30pm. They never stayed at home on the 31st anymore, especially after Kevin had moved out. They usually went to a movie, or dinner, anything to try to forget the date. Frank punched the garage door opener, but stopped well short of the drive way. He looked to his wife, whose face went pale. There was a light on, a light in Bobby’s room. He felt his wife snake her fingers through his and grip his hand as he eased the car into the driveway and put it in park.

They both went through the front door and walked slowly up the stairs, stopping at Bobby’s room. His wife’s grip seem to tighten even harder as he reached out with his free hand and turned the knob. The room was empty, as empty as it had been for the last 15 years. Though Bobby’s desk lamp was on. A light that neither had turned on since that night 15 years ago when Bobby had been struck by that car speeding out of that apartment complex. Frank over to turn off the light but stopped when his foot brushed something. He bent down and picked it up. A crumpled Twix wrapper, left in the middle of the floor. He turned to his wife, watching fresh tears roll down her face, as he clocked off the light, once again, plunging the preserved room into darkness.

End of Line.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Poetry: Birthdays

Hey all,

As is my usual habit here I try to write a poem on my birthday, about the passage of time of growing older, something to commemorate the coming year. This year my poem is really about embracing all the things you've done wrong in your life and realizing that those mistakes allow you to be at the place you are now, for good or for bad. Getting older is merely a state of mind, I certainly don't feel more different today than I did yesterday, age isn't about the passing year, its about the passing of life. One year of opportunity is nothing in comparison to a decade of them. This year for me was about embracing the wrongs of the past, and living to the fullest extent of the future. As always, thanks for reading.


Years have passed that were rough,

Times I've face have sure been tough.

Decisions I've made have been mistakes,

And all the consequences and the breaks,

Don't get any easier with the years,

Or get washed away by shedding tears.

But as this year comes to an end,

The fruits I've sown I can't defend.

All I can say is after all these days,

I know now three hundred sixty five ways,

To make mistakes and fuck up your life,

How not to pay the dues you should tithe.

Or all the other ways I've screwed up then,

Can't even say I'm sorry or defend it when,

My life's a mess from from my poor choice,

Or when my words caress without a voice.

So as this new birthday comes to pass,

I'll view my life from a looking glass.

Reflecting on the many reasons,

I messed up these past four seasons,

One could certainly say without a doubt,

About all the things that life has held without,

There are plenty of reasons to feel sad,

When the older you get starts to turn bad.

And each new birthday fills you with despair,

I want you to look back and compare.

And if you live your life like I do mine,

As the years have passed you can find,

The things in which you've been blessed,

Are more important than why you've obsessed,

About getting on and growing old,

So listen to me and do what you're told.

The zest of life is yours to grasp,

If you just let go of to the fears you clasp.

And live your life like each day is your last,

Cause at the end, it passes by so fast.

Birthdays are not about the passage of time,

But remembering that the joys of life can be sublime.

The habits of life and love you can never shake,

But the world around is yours to take.

End of Line.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun: Past Sins

Chapter 31

Morgan had found the young girl on the side of the road leading towards Desperation. The poor thing had looked terrible. Her dress had been reduced to mostly rags and her body was a mess of cuts and scrapes. She had deeply purple bruises across her stomach and ribs as well as welts on her scalp. Her face was slightly swollen and blood still trickled from the fresh split in her lip. She had been shoeless and her feet had been a mess of cuts and burrs. Her hair was still damp from her douse in the river and she still smelled of of smoke. He had gotten off his horse when he had found her and took a knee in front of her, moving slowly. One not to frighten her, but two, well... the second reason was just in case. She had been curled up into a ball, but when she finally looked up, raising her head from between her knees, she had embraced him in a fierce hug, a fresh set of tears shuddering from the poor girl.

He had wrapped her in the blanket from his bedroll and helped her onto his horse, telling her he'd escort her to Desperation. She had nodded and they had rode in silence for a long time. After a while though, she had regained her composure somewhat and at Morgan's gentle insistence had opened up. Her name was Ally Marshall she had said, and told him her story. About the blond man killing her family and attacking her. About waking up in the stables. And about her family rising from the dead and her eventual escape down the river. Morgan hadn't told her about his wife or child, he didn't think she needed to hear it, but he listened intently. He now knew that it wasn't just his farm, that somehow, the dead were walking the earth again. He looked to the dead sun overhead and thought about the old stories of his people.

After Ally finished her story she closed her eyes and rested against Morgan's back. They rode in silence for a while, until the woods gave way to a scrubs, eventually settling into more farmable land. The pair rode quietly, coming up to a sprawling farm, it's house set just beyond the trail. The front of the house had tethers for horses along a small open air stable, an old way station for horses apparently that looked like it saw little use. A length of fence ran alongside the road towards a gate in the center. Morgan eased the horse up towards the gate and slid down, reassuringly patting Ally's leg.

Morgan held up a hand, motioning to Ally to stay with the horse.
"I'll be right back, just stay here. I won't be out of sight."

She had nodded silently, but he could see the fear in her eyes.

Morgan slid free his revolver and thumbed back the hammer, creeping slowly towards the main house. The house was deathly silent and the hairs on the back of Morgan's neck stood up. He crept up the steps to the porch, the front door wide open. He stuck his head in the house and looked around. The foyer was covered in blood, running from the top of the stairs into a pool on the floor in front of the main door. Morgan grimaced and pulled back out, following the porch as it ran around the perimeter of the house. As he turned the corner, he saw a shed behind the house. In front of the shed, he saw two forms laying on the ground.

They didn't move, but Morgan still moved slowly. He crept the gun in front of him, his finger tight on the trigger. He gave Ally a reassuring wave that he didn't quite feel himself and slowly approached the two shapes. He pointed the gun at the first shape until he was close enough to make it out. It was barefoot, wearing only coveralls, but it had been one of them. Despite the gaping hole in it's head, he could still make out the clawed fingers and sallow skin. A few steps later he saw the second one much the same, though obviously this had been the lady of the house. Her dress torn down the front, exposing the festering wound in her chest. Her head too had been split wide open and from the looks of it, by a shotgun. Morgan walked towards the door of the shed, slowly pushing it open with the barrel of his gun. Inside, he found one more body, shot in the head as well. Her dress had been torn off her body, leaving her naked and exposed, bruises and purple blemishes marking her skin. The only difference between this victim and the two outside was that this poor girl had still been alive before she was shot.

End of Line.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Poetry: To Simple

Hey all,

I thought I really needed to do a love poem, something more upbeat and impassioned, especially with the kind of foreboding poetry that I have been writing of late. This poem is about how sometimes words cannot express all the emotions that a person makes you feel. That sometimes people make you feel in ways that you just can't put into words. I don't write a love of love poetry, but I am definitely a bit of a classic romantic. I very much want to be able to express these feelings, these longings, to another person but I tend to write poems to an idealized love. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the poem! Thanks for reading.

To Simple

Love is to simple a word,

To express so many things.

From feelings bold and passionate,

To sounding what your heart sings.

It cannot convey in words or speech,

Even text can fall so short,

The facets in which you lift me up,

And hold my soul in court.

Poems or rhyme may hold no verse,

A beauty that you can’t undo.

Perfection given earthly form,

Each time I come to think of you.

Even music is a dull affair,

You cannot be contained in song.

No verse or chord is worthy yet,

Your majesty is just too strong.

I struggle to find the words to say,

To express just how I feel.

The day you came into my life,

Is when the world became so real.

Even prayer cannot demonstrate,

The love and warmth within,

You’re my savior, an angel of the heart,

My lust for you my only sin.

Adore, admire, praise, and covet,

Each are but a pale lit dare,

To words or actions I hold so dear,

For a lady without compare.

As grammar fails to truly show,

All the things you mean to me,

Know that my heart is yours,

And everything I’ll ever be.

End of Line.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun: Past Sins

Chapter 30:

Ally had been forced to cut through the forest, leaving the protection of the river behind. Her feet bled from the rocks and shrubbery but she moved through the wilds as fast as she could. Fresh tears ran down her face, tears from a mixture of pain and fear. She remembered her experience at the river and bit her lip, trying to force down another wave of panic as she ran through the forest.

She had been making her way down the riverbank, following the shoreline, picking her footing as she moved towards Desperation. Then she had seen them. Two people, at the riverbank, bent over at the edge of the water. Her heart had soared. She felt the rocks stab at her feet as she ran towards the duo, waving her arms and shouting, feeling that for the first time today, something right was going to happen. She ignored the pain and continued running down the shoreline.

It was the smell though, that was the first thing that tipped her off. A smell like rot, or decay, something spoiled. Her running faltered, slowing herself as her cries had rousted the two strangers ahead. As she neared them, the two men looked up and Ally saw them. Monsters. Like her family. Their face was covered in blood, their black teeth glistened with gore. They had been bent over by the river and she saw now why. A body lay in the water, ripped apart as the creatures had been feasting on the carcass. Entrails had been ripped out of the poor man's chest, his head caved in. The water down river ran red with blood.

Ally stopped, her heart in her chest. All the pain and soreness seemed to drain away in an instant, replaced by fear. Stark raving fear. The creatures slowly stood up from the dead body and began moving towards Ally. She stood rooted to the spot, taking in the monsters. They had decomposed badly and wore scraps of rags as clothing and were riddled with maggots and dead flesh. They were covered in dirt and mud, their bodies having turned sour and moldy. But those claws and those teeth were all too real. They shuffled close, mouths gaping and let loose an angry hiss. They were mere feet from her when finally the grip of free released her and she screamed. She turned and ran, straight into the wilds beside the river and never look back.

That had been at least a quarter of an hour ago. Ally had finally stopped running, her breath coming in ragged gasps and all the pain and aches seeped back into her as the adrenalin ebbed. Ally stumbled a few more steps as the forest gave way to a hard packed trail. She dropped to her knees, finding it hard to breath. Ally sat by the road, pushing down a fresh wave of tears and trying to catch her breath. Her whole body shuddered, and Ally felt utterly defeated. She didn't care anymore, didn't want to run anymore, didn't want to live. She finally gave into the grief, and sobbed, knowing that she no longer cared what happened to her.

Her grief was finally interrupted by the clipping of horse hooves down the road. Ally didn't bother to move or hide though, she just sat there and waited. She didn't even look up until the clip clop of the horse stopped. She saw a man on horseback, a man in a cavalry uniform, and she cried again, a fresh set of tears. Though this time, the tears were of relief.

End of Line.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Word Balloon: Fell

Hey all,

Whenever October rolls around I like to pick a darker comic book for the column, something from the horror or occult genre. This month I chose writer Warren Ellis and artist Ben Templesmith's Fell, from Image Comics. While not necessarily a horror comic, it does deal with a lot of familiar Halloween themes. It's a comic very much about the darkness of humanity and the vileness of real life, though there is a sub-text dealing with implied magic and the power of belief. It's a complex book that shows sometime the truly scariest things in the world are the people around us.

Fell is about a disgraced homicide detective named Richard Fell who is re-assigned to a precinct named Snowtown, a dark city rife with urban decay, separated from the city by a lone bridge, isolating it from the regular world. Snowtown is abnormally cold, a cursed city that is made up of an impoverished amalgamations of several inner cities. Cloaked in mystery, you are never told why the people believe the town is a blight or why working there is considered exile for the police force. The inhabitants have even taking to marking doors and people with a protective marker, hoping that Snowtown will not turn its ill will on one of its own, succumbing to superstition and old beliefs as the world around them has descended into darker times. Still, Fell is assigned to the precinct's minimal police force and is determined to make a difference where many others will not, trying to help the impoverished town improve itself and to protect its inhabitants using his renowned powers of observation and deductive skills.

Snowtown is a dark, dank place, where vileness is an everyday topic that must be dealt with in Fell's struggles to better the community. His sole point of light in this otherwise feral city is Mayko, a bartender who takes Fell under her wing to guide him in the ways of Snowtown and act as a sounding board for the cases he is working on. She also acts as a foil to the bleak desolation that surrounds Fell while in Snowtown. She even goes so far a to brand him with the protective marker that the citizens have been placing around the city to protect him as well. Despiet the early branding and the friction it causes between them, Fell and Mayko grow close to each other.

Fell is a very different sort of comic, designed specifically as an experiment by writer Warren Ellis to produce a line of more affordable comic books in a market where comics are pricing themselves out of business. Fell is a 20 page comic, 16 pages dedicated to story, and 4 pages dedicated to what Ellis called Back Matter. Back Matter was where Ellis would expand on the concepts discussed in the actual comic book itself, answer email questions, and generally experiment with the medium. By pricing this slimline comic book at $1.99, Ellis strived to make the comic worth the price by offering less comic pages than a normal comic, but densely packing each issue with material. Another way he expanded on the book's density was to adapt the nine panel grid system, where each page is based on a nine panel layout. This causes each page to tell more of a story, thus giving the reader a better bargain for their dollar. using this format, each issue, while smaller than a regular comic, contains more story and additional material, making it a better value.

Each issue of Fell was a self contained story, another trick to make each comic more reader friendly and essentially create a better comic value for each issue. The reader was getting a complete story each time they bought a comic, never having to follow several issues in order to understand the entire story. That being said, Ellis did write in several things that rewarded readers who bought each issue, mostly in the form of a recurring character whose mystery deepened with each appearance. She was a short nun, dressed in a habit wearing a Richard Nixon mask and each issue her actions became more and more suspect. If that sounded bizarre it is, but Ellis is a master at taking the abnormal and fitting into the strange landscape he creates, and the nun's appearances in Snowtown simply amplified the darkness that permeated Fell's city Each issue dealt with a different kind of horror, from child abuse to murder, but Ellis always managed to cloud the results with in mystery that was Snowtown. Each issue causes Fell to slip a little further into teh darkness of Snowtown, and draw a little bit closer to the darkness inside himself. Ellis was trying to create value for the reader while crafting a story that changed expectations.

Warren Ellis is one of my favorite writers working today. He caught notice doing work for DC/Wildstorm in the late 90's, working on series like Stormwatch and The Authority and books Desolation Jones (a series I covered a few months back in this column) as well as his seminal runs on comics like Planetary and his signature series Transmetropolitan. Ellis has always been at the forefront of establishing new media and new ideas in comics, embracing the internet culture way before many other writers, always writing with a mind toward the future and about the inequalities and darker ambitions of man. Fell was his attempt to continue these themes in a format that both rewarded the reader and boldly redefined what comics could mean in terms of new publishing formats.

Ellis teamed up with artist Ben Templesmith, who gave Fell a ghostly, acid washed atmosphere, perfectly capturing the darkness and otherworldliness of Snowtown. Templesmith was best known for his work on publisher IDW's 30 Days of Night series with writer Steven Niles. 30 Days of Night was about a group of vampires who take over an Alaskan town that is plunged in darkness for months at a time. He was the perfect artist to bring his grim and gritty look to Fell, illustrating the horror of everyday life while keeping the whole series in a kind of murky sharpness. His art work always suggests far more than it shows, making the reader imply more about Snowtown than may even be there. His art so perfectly accentuates the mood and tone of the series that its hard for me to imagine anyone else drawing this book.

Fell was designed as an ongoing series and actually thrived when it was fist published in 2007, despite many industry pros claims that Ellis' publishing model would fail. In truth, the lower price point and Ellis' dense story telling style, combined with Templesmith's pitch perfect art, made the book an unqualified success. In a rare occurrence for comics, the book actually gained readers as it progressed, causing the first issue to go back to print 5 times. Subsequent issues also saw multiple printings. Ellis and Templesmith stated that they didn't make much money on the project, though for them that wasn't the point. They did turn a profit, but it was more important for them to show what they could do with the format and proving it to the world. It's a strange concept for many people outside of comics, to work on a series out of love for the medium, even though you can make more money on other projects. It's simply the love of the medium that guides you, and the love of creating genre changing books like Fell that motivated them. Most creators would say you don't make comics to get rich, you make comics because you love them.

Unfortunately for fans of the series, the book has been plagued by a series of shipping delays, the last issue coming out nearly two years ago. A combination of Templesmith's other artistic commitments at first led to the initial delays, though since in the end of 2008 much of the problems have been Ellis' fault. After a computer crash led to the loss of Ellis' scripts, including multiple issues of Fell, he spent much of the time catching up his contractually obligated commitments, though he has stated recently that work on a new issue has begun.

Fell is a perfect book for this time of year, dark and creepy, hinting at the darker undertone of the world around us, with just a hint of the fantastic. The book's cutting, murky style is a perfect fit for Ellis' work and his characterization is at the top of his game. The creators manage to ft each 20 page comic with more material than most full size books and it is a real value for your trade dollar. Fell is also a really good gateway book for fans of Ellis, as it borders Ellis quirkier mainstream approach while hinting at the gonzo surrealism of some of Ellis' more subversive and gonzo work, like Transmetropolitan and Black Summer. this is a fine comic, published by two creators making something truly unique in this day and age, a book for the comic book fan. Not something as simple as a mindless rehash or a spin off, but something original and fresh, using an approach unheard of in modern day comics. Check out the first (and sadly sole) trade today, collecting the first 8 issues of the series. Image Comics Fell: Feral City (Volume 1), by Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith, a book that proves there is nothing quite as frightening as the real world. Happy reading!

End of Line.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Poetry: A Dream Denies

Hey all,

Wrote this poem during the past few days, where I have been just mind numbingly exhausted. The material was pretty easy to come by, considering how damnably tired I was. Its not the first poem I have written about being tired, but then again, I do seem to recycle subject matter a bit here and there. Anyway, it's a bit of a shorter work, but I like the symmetry and I knew when I wrote that final line, that it was the place to end the poem. Anyway, thanks for reading.

A Dream Denies

Eyes so heavy, blurry vision.

Sleep depraved, my own volition.

Long swept days of ill reform,

Staving away sweet slumbers norm.

Toils to grind for all the day,

Yet no lullaby tonight can assuage.

Fickle dreams on the edge of sleep,

Lay out of grasp, to far to leap.

To snore, to rest, to nap in kind,

Would feel so sweet to this weary mind.

Angst and pressure, my thoughts a-twirl,

These reasons why sleep can not unfurl.

Weary bones and tired muscles,

Exhausted soul turns and tussles.

But every time I close my eyes,

Sleep, perchance, a dream denies.

An empty black, these silent rooms,

All of which my conscious consumes.

Cannot find the way to peace,

As my reward this night is simply fleeced.

I toss and thrash in tussled sheet,

Praying the day to draw complete.

The sun has set the stars now shine,

Yet I'm wide awake and far from fine.

End of Line.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun: Past Sins

Chapter 29:

Cody stuck to the main road as much as possible, listening and watching for any kind of activity. He wasn't sure what time it was, but based on the position of the sun it was at least mid morning. He hadn't seen anything like the Johnson Brothers this morning, but he hadn't seen anyone else either. He felt uneasy, nervous, and Cody Jarret did not like feeling that way. He hitched up his saddle bags and continued down the trail. Fifteen minutes later, his nerves went away as he found someone else.

The farmhouse had been built along the road and at one point had been a watering hole for the stage and horses in the early days before Desperation had been built, which meant that Cody was still a quarter of a day from town. Nowadays it was just a farmhouse. It was the screams that alerted Cody. He crept up, staying close to the border fence that ran alongside the trail, separating the farmland from the road. He could see two more of the abominations clawing at the door of a shed behind. One creature was barefoot and dressed in overalls, a giant festering wound seeping gore from his neck. The other was wearing a nice dress, though it had been slashed down the middle exposing her chest. The dress was covered in blood and you could see were her chest had been split open. They each had the same gaping mouths and black teeth, like before, and their fingers twisted into sharpened points, streaked with red.

The screams were coming from a small shed. As he drew close he could tell the terrified screams were a woman's, a truly terrified woman. The two monsters battered at the door and Cody could see the frame buckling under the inhuman assault. The screams intensified as more of the door was beaten away, the cries seeming to fuel the beasts into a frenzy as they drew nearer their prey. Cody could see the door giving way, as if whoever was trapped inside the shed was bracing it themselves.

Cody felt that feeling of warmth bubble up in his stomach. He felt it spreading throughout his whole body. That special feeling he got whenever he killed a man. He had been surprised by the Johnson Brothers this morning, but he knew now. He knew that whatever these fucks were you could kill them. And Cody Jarret dearly loved the feeling of killing a man. Cody debated whether to use one of his beautiful Colts, or the sawed-off he had taken from the Johnson boys. In the end he settled on the shotgun, simply because he was already holding it.

He tossed his saddle bags over the short fencing and then hopped over himself. He breached the barrel of the shotgun, checking the twin shells in the chamber and slammed the barrel shut. He thumbed back the hammers and whistled, watching as the two creatures spun away from their panicked victim in the shed and slowly begin to stalk towards him. Cody smiled, his mind processing as the monsters drew into range. They seemed thoughtless creatures, based solely on instinct and need. Not capable of thought or complex action. He smiled even wider as he drew the shotgun up and fired. He smile descended into a mad kind of laugh as he ejected the spent shells, loading again. The creatures still moved futility, their chests gaping holes. The ground was streaked with a multitude of spoiled pus and blackened blood as Cody walked towards the monsters. They still clung to life, teeth gnashing as Cody brought the rifle up. He didn't even aim, just jammed the cold barrel of the shotgun into the thrashing mouths of the beats and fired. His laughter died down as he finished the monster's off, his once manic laughter replaced by a euphoric calm as he re-loaded the shotgun.

He walked up to teh shed, his body tingling and alive. He slowly pushed the door open, finding no resistance. He held the shotgun to the side as he peered inside, finding the loan occupant. A young woman, no more than 17 or 18, was curled in the corner crying. Her dress was torn and she had lost a shoe, her face streaked with dirt and tears. She uncurled herself, slowly realizing that Cody wasn't one of those creatures.

"Are..........are you alive?"

Her voice cracked, brittle with fear and trauma and Cody said yes. She bounded from the floor in a blur, wrapping her arms around Cody, her body pressing tightly against him. He wrapped his arms around her and felt another familiar feeling. A feeling he had ignored too much the past two days. That feeling that came directly after he killed a man, a different kind of warmth spreading across his body. He pulled her even closer, her soft bits pressing against him and Cody told her everything would be all right now.

End of Line.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Poetry: Beginnings, Endings, Endings, Beginnings

Hey all,

Kind of a weird poem effort below. Trying something very structurally different, where I built the poem based on the number of words in the stanza. The poem starts with one word lines and increases by an additional word each stanza. Finally it crests with a five word line only to then de-structure itself back towards the one word line. I took several attempts at the poem, more than normal for me. The poem itself was written in pretty much one sitting, but I have gone through the lines several times tweaking the wording and flow to make the poem more or less sound better. To iron out a better verbal flow. I'm still not sure as to how great the poem is of itself, but I enjoyed using it as a learning exercise and as a writing tool. It challenged me in a different kind of way that was fun. Enjoy!

Beginnings, Endings, Endings, Beginnings





Empty promises,

Broken dream,

Forgotten words,

Feeling obscene.

Cut to wit,

Pain so raw,

My blood flows,

Cold heart thaws.

In these darkened halls,

Hearing the silence walk,

Enduring these lonely days,

As my heartache stalks.

Time goes on, ever fast,

Simple moments just slipping by,

Fleeting hours, they tick away,

Only failures left to try.

Cast a gaze behind,

Yesteryears come and gone,

Happiness tuned to dusk,

Bitterness breaks the dawn.

Alone and awake,

This lonely night,

Regrets so fresh,

Reliving the sights.

So cold,

Here alone,

Craving changes,

Never atoned.





End of Line.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun: Past Sins

Chapter 28:


Father Enrico pulled Father Ruiz by the sleeve away from the door to the church. The creatures had broken through and were moving over the rubble of broken furniture. Enrico aimed slowly, trying to measure out his shots to have the maximum effect. He pulled the trigger slowly, deliberately firing when he had a clear shot, aiming for the head whenever possible, purely on instinct. Pedro skipped past him towards his mother Maria, who was still rocking herself in the corner saying the Lord's prayer. Brother Romero had taken a broken piece of table leg and had backed towards the stairs leading up.

"Ruiz! Romero! We must get to the stairs, it will form a natural bottleneck where we can face these damnable monsters!"

He saw them both nod and make for the stairs. Enrico fired again, watching one of the monster's head explode in a black shower as the monster fell lifelessly to the church floor. Enrico took aim again and fired, and again, long dormant instincts rising to the surface. He watched the cursed beasts fall under his assault until the old pistol clicked empty. At the sound of that "click" all of those old fears bubbled to the surface though. The realization of the situation came flooding in as he reached into his robes for more bullets. The dead walking, the sun dying. Hell coming to Earth.

Enrico managed to jam two rounds into gun before the monsters made their final surge. Seven of the creatures barreled through the door, gore glistening from their blackened fangs. Brother Romero ran up the stairs as Father Ruiz called for Maria and Pedro. Pedro was desperately pulling on his mother, trying to drag her from the corner. Maria was crying hysterically, wailing her prayer through blubbered tears as her son pleaded with her to move. Enrico was trying to load his third shot when the first creature descended on the pair. Enrico watched in horror as the monster swiped his long claw across Pedro's back, dark red tears through his flesh as the boy let out a scream. His mother never even broke her prayer as another creature descended on her son, tearing at his flesh with a sickening ease.

Enrico willed his hand up, his once calm aim now jittery, as he tried to bear down on the two monsters. It was then he saw Father Ruiz throw himself at the creatures. He had no weapons, he simply pulled at the monster, his hands around his neck, willing the beast's maw away from the wailing boy. He succeeded for a second, until the smells of fresh blood enticed the other creatures into a frenzy. The horde descended on the Ruiz, claws and jagged teeth tearing at Ruiz' flesh. Even the mother's once incessant prayer was choked off into screams of pain and terror as the monsters feed on her flesh. The cries of the three victims filled the church, screams of pain, or fear, cries for a God who wasn't answering.

Enrico wrenched his gaze away from the horror unfolding in front of him and looked at Brother Romero, still holding the broken table leg. Tears rolled down the young man's face, his eyes tinged red with sorrow and fear, and he heard tehboy call to him for help.


Enrico looked away from the young man, twisting his head even further from the abhorrent sounds unfolding just yards from him. he saw the cleared doorway, free from monsters, free for the moment. A chance. He looked back to Romero, as the first of the feeding creatures broke away from Ruiz's body, gore and entrails hanging from his mouth. The monster began shuffling towards Romero as Enrico slipped closer to the door. He looked back to Romero, his eyes tinged with tears, and whispered his failure.

"I'm sorry......God I'm so sorry......"

The creature stalked towards Brother Romero, drawing closer to the petrified young man. With a lump in his throat, Enrico turned away running for the open doorway, hearing his one time brother's cries. The pleading cries for him to come back, to save him. Begging to not be left alone. Another demon that would haunt Enrico's dreams. Another failure on his part. For the second time in his life, he ran away from the people whom he had taken an oath to protect.

End of Line.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Assorted Nuts!

Happy October!

Yeah, last month surely didn't go according to plan. I really wanted to do 30 posts, and I fell about 7 short. Still I think I did have some quality posts and I am a little proud of the amount of poetry I managed to crank out. It was a combination of several things that lead to the lack of output at the end. One was a clear lack of topical material, though I think the second reason was more the matter. I simply hit the wall. I just had no desire or energy to write. Personal issues with my car and such weighed in on the matter too, but honestly I can say I am disappointed in myself. I am not setting a post target this month, but I certainly am shooting for more of a regular output.

I do have some fun plans this month for posts though. I'm planning on at least two special posts, a flash fiction short story for Halloween as well as one of my annual poems. You can also count on Under A Dead Sun to really start amping up and seeing the characters start to come together. I also have some other non blog writing to do so hopefully this will be a busy month. I'm taking my last week of vacation this month as well so I want to do some serious writing that week to boot. Anyway, enjoy the blog, thanks for reading, and most importantly, thanks for listening.

End of Line.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Concert Time! The Pixies

Hey all,

I'm a bit behind on this post but last Friday my friend Jason and I caught The Pixies in concert. The Pixies are one of my top 5 all time favorite bands and one of the last bands that I felt I utterly had to see live in concert. The Pixies are one of the proto-punk, alternative bands that were responsible for ushering in the alternative rock revolution of the early 1990's. Kurt Cobain of Nirvana called them one of his primary influences and claimed that Smells Like Teen Spirit was his own personal attempt to rip off the Pixies.

The band formed in the mid 80's and found some middling success with their first EP Come On Pilgrim and found slightly more with their first full length album Surfer Rosa, featuring soungs like Gigantic and Where Is My Mind. Though it was really the 1989 release of the seminal Doolittle Album that gave them a taste of success, with songs like Wave of Mutilation, Here Come's Your Man, and Debaser. The band was made up of leader singer Black Francis, bass player and back up vocalist Kim Deals (who would later form the Breeders with her twin sister), Lead guitarist Joey Santiago, and drummer David Lovering. The band is heavily influenced by religious and social imagery and has a sound that swings from vocally melodic to fast and abrasive. During their tenure from the late 80's to the early 90's, the band found huge success abroad in Europe, but only mild success in America. The recorded five albums, the height of which was Doolittle, before in fighting between the increasing controlling Francis and the angry and ostracized Deal. Deal wanted more input on the writing and creative side and Francis didn't want to relinquish control. The constant struggle between the two lead to the breakup.

Years later tensions lessened and the band agreed to play some reunion shows in Europe which led to the band playing more together. Much of the band's reformation is captured in the wonderful documentary loudQUIETloud, which chronicles the bands first tour in nearly 15 years. The success of that tour and the passing of time really showed the band the legacy they had left behind and have played more shows over the years. Last year they booked a few dates to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Doolittle and the success has carried the tour to additional dates, where I caught them in Mesa.

There was an opening act by a band that was called Fuck You. I don't even want to waste time talking about them as I hated them. It sounded like something a step above white noise, but cranked extremely loud. The Pixies took the stage around 9:15 and played nearly 2 whole hours. Since the tour was celebrating the Doolittle album, they played the album in its entirety, including some unreleased B sides. They played 20 full tracks off the album, ending with the song Gouge Away. My personal favorites were Here Comes Your Man and Debaser, as the crowds really got into those songs and enlivened the performance. After Gouge Away, the band left the stage as the audience chanted for more, and they came out to play the encore. They started with a variant take of Wave of Mutilation, which they had already played. This time they played the UK edit, a wonderfully slower version of the song that I'd never heard before and was awesome. They ended the encore with the song Into the White. One of the few Pixies tracks where Kim Deals is on the vocals, they flooded the stage with white smoke and played the song illuminated in a smokey shadow of white. It was a great effect that really sold the song. You couldn't see any of the performers, only their shadow, as Deal sung the haunting lyrics of Into the White. Amazing.

What was even better? They came out to do a second encore, playing 4 of their best non-Doolittle hits, starting with Veloria, then going into three of my favorite tracks, Dig For Fire, Where Is My Mind?, and ending with my favorite Pixies track, the Kim Deal sung Gigantic. It was an amazing end to an amazing performance. I couldn't believe my luck in getting to hear so many of my favorite tracks and the great stage value they gave in the show. It was even better that I got to share it with my best friend Jason, who rarely goes to shows anymore. Still, its been a great month for concerts for me, with The Pixies, Weezer, and Devo (all top 10 bands for me) this month. I always worried that I may never get the chance to see the Pixies play live, with the tensions and history of the band, and to be able to be a part of the show was fantastic.

End of Line.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun: Past Sins

Chapter 27

Eva signaled Bartley to hold up and he reared back on the reins, stopping the stage. She had been riding ahead, ensuring the trail remained clear for the stage when she saw them. More of the creatures, creatures like what Evan had turned into. There was at least 4 of them, huddled around....something, rending pieces of flesh from the carcass of whatever it had been and devouring the guts and brains of the poor dead thing. Eva wasn't sure what to do. There was no way around the monsters if they had any hopes of getting the stage into town they would have to go through the monsters. Rex simply didn't have the time to go around and neither he nor her father could take cutting cross country in their condition.

She looked back at Bartley who was holding up his battered old rifle. He mostly shot the old thing to start the herd moving, she wasn't sure if he had even fired it at another person since that Indian raid all those years ago. Still, he had used the weapon in self-defense at least, she was less sure about Moore. That dandy was the biggest fraud she had ever seen. He may be a financial wiz, but killing a man was another thing entirely. She rested her hand on her own revolver, wondering if she had the stones to kill again. In the moment her instincts had kicked in against Evan. Cold blooded killing though was another thing. Then again, could you really kill something that had already died?

She crept back to the rest of the men at the stage, a few hundred yards away. They had moved as slowly and as quitely as close as they could, but now they had to decide on what to do next. Eva knew what the answer was, even if she didn't like it very much. She looked up at Bartley and nodded, understanding what she was going to say without needing words. Bartley and her had worked together a long time, he'd been around her almost her whole life, sometimes they didn't even need to speak to know what they were thinking. What her father and Thomas would say, well that may be a different story.

Moore was talking to her father in hushed tones, the door to the cab open. Her father was seated across from Rex, who still tossed and turned feverishly, moaning in pain and discomfort. Moore leaned into the cab, but cut short his conversation as Eva drew closer and instead leaned back, an ill smile hitting teh corners of his mouth.

"Dad... Thomas, there's no way around the four... things... on the road ahead."

She cast a glance at Rex, still writhing in fevered pain.

"Let's be honest here, Rex look's worse than he did ten minutes ago. We don't got the time to cut around them and frankly we are equipped to travel with his cross country."

Eva pointed left out mentioning her father's infirmary, but it hung in the air unspoken. Her dad tugged in the corners of his bushy mustache, his mind a whirl in thought as Thomas spoke.

" Eva, what you're suggesting then is that we.... ATTACK these creatures? How do we know that they even mean us harm? Surely we can just ride by them or ignore them or something."

Caleb cut short the pointed response that had been on the tip of Eva's tongue.

"Thomas, I appreciate what you're thoughts, but I think my daughter is right here. Four of those monsters are ahead of us on the road. We don't know where they come from, or what they are, but based on what we have seen we don't want to take the chance of getting exposed to them, or even exposing our horses to them. It's obvious they have some kind of infection, based on what we are seeing happen to Rex. Plus we know hey are eating something that use to be alive. I think... God help me, that we are better suited to put them down, like we would a rabid animal."

Caleb had said that speech with a heavy heart, tugging forlornly at the bushy end of his mustache. Moore simply scowled and stalked away, drawing his gun and muttering curses. Caleb would stay with Rex and the stage, while Bartley, Eva, and Moore would take care of the creatures ahead. Bartley gingerly got down from the drivers seat of the stage while Eva pulled her rifle from her saddle holster. She checked the ammunition for at least the third time today and walked up with Bartley. Moore was waiting for the two of them, his pistol drawn and the three of them stalked closer to the creatures. They were still tearing at the carcass of what they killed, but with less fervor. There was a good 30 yards between them and the creatures with no cover so they left the safety of the underbrush. They stalked closer and Eva nodded at each, all three pulling back the hammer on their respective weapons with an audible click.

The creatures turned at the sound of the click their faces covered in gore and spittle, black fangs gleaming in the sun. It was then that the three saw what the monster's had been eating. Or what was left of it anyway. It was covered in bits of entrails and blood. The stomach had been ripped open and the skull cracked wide as the monster devoured their contents. The simple dress she had worn was torn and ripped, but the young girls dead eyes stared straight into the soul of Eva. All three of them fired.

End of Line.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Hey all,

Well... I failed. I really tried to keep the posts going but I honestly had such an awful couple of days that I lost motivation to do pretty much everything. A combination of work, personal, and auto troubles really just bummed me the fuck out. A very heavy set of apathy just set in and even looking at the keyboard filled me with dread and loathing. I'm pretty sure that there is a poem in here somewhere now, dying to express the anger and resentment that I have been feeling the past few days, but I don't think I'm ready to mine that particular gemstone just yet.

I finally started to shake the doldrums of my apathy last night when I was hanging out with my friend Jason. We headed out to Mesa to check out The Pixies in concert (which I will cover in a column later this week) and it finally got me to a level where at least I didn't quite feel so angry, or bad about myself. I don't know, it just feels like more and more these past few weeks I feel really isolated and alone, as more people around me fulfill different parts of their lives, personally, professionally, I feel like I am failing at my own. I know a lot of my problems are ones I have created for myself, yet sometimes it feels like even though I am the key to solving the problems, I can't find the lock the key fits in.

If I really turn the magnifying glass on myself, I know what the real problem is. It's the isolation. I feel absolutely surrounded by people everyday, and not one of them has a damn idea. That no one really knows me. I feel like my brother has this whole other life that I only get to look in on, that the girl I like has no feeling for me. That my best friend is a world away. Maybe I am over analyzing my life, I don't know. I'm certainly over exaggerating it at least.

Everyday ends with the setting sun, and the only illumination is darkness.

End of Line.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Poetry: Memories

Hey all!

Twenty posts in twenty days! I can honestly say I am starting to feel the effects of writing every day. I'm actually a little burned out. Not of writing, most days I would tap out something on the computer to just write, but having postable work to put up has been the issue. As the month has gone on I no longer have a backlog of topic ready to write about, in fact the cupboard is pretty bare for topics other than the next chapters of Flash Fiction. I'll figure something out this week I'm sure. Only 10 more posts to go.

As for this poem, it was written in about an hour this morning. I read an article on Alzheimer's Disease that had popped up on my homepage and it got me thinking about losing your memories, losing the fabric of your life, and I wrote a poem about wanting to cling to those things in the end. Enjoy and thanks for sticking with me!


Memories fade,

Like the setting sun.

A reminder of times,

Long since begun.

A lifetimes of years,

Can seem the span of a day,

Yet the seconds of a kiss,

Can feel like hours replayed.

But as we grow old,

The seconds between,

Grow closer together,

The future less unseen.

Stories once lived,

Are now but a dream,

Those tales are but stitches,

Your life in the seams.

As the years tick away,

The more you forget,

Trying to remember,

Your world by the bit.

Lost in the revelry,

The stories of your life,

The good times and the bad,

Cut loose like a knife.

They say in the end,

You've only your thoughts,

What happens to us then,

When you forget what you sought?

So I cling tight to my dreams,

As they slip through the cracks,

These precious grains of sand,

That I will never get back.

End of Line.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Concert Time! Fall Frenzy: Weezer and Devo!

Hey all,

I spent the better part of Saturday at Arizona's Fall Frenzy concert. A huge outdoor festival style concert, this was the years second show. It's 3 straight days of music outdoors at Tempe Beach Park. It was a great local for a show, it's right along one of Arizona's trendiest shopping district on Mill Avenue, right beside Arizona State University's campus. There is always a huge influx of teens and college grade students there and it's the perfect vibe for this kind of outdoor show. The use of the word fall in the title might be a little mis-leading as it was still in the 100's throughout much of the show, though the weather cooled off considerably once the sun set. This year the three day show kicked off on Friday with Sevendust, Shinedown, The Cult, and headliner Stone Temple Pilots. Sunday was more of a hard rock bend with Stone Sour, Avenged Sevenfold, and Disturbed headlining along with several other acts.The only day that really intrested me, especially at the exorbitant ticket prices for a 3 day pass, was Saturday. That day featured AM Taxi, The Dirtyheads, Blue October, Devo, Primus, Sublime with Rome, and Weezer.

I should point out that of the 7 bands mentioned, I'm really only a fan of two, Devo and Weezer. Such is the price you pay to see some of your favorites though. I got to the show a little late and missed AM Taxi completely but i managed to catch the Dirtyheads set. They have one song that is getting a lot of airplay on Phoenix radio called Lay Me Down, a song in which Rome (the new singer of the reformed Sublime) accompanies them vocally. They have a kind of reggae rock feel to them and honestly I didn't really enjoy the set personally. I will say the crowd was into it when they closed the set with Lay Me Down.

Up next was Blue October, a band that has had some success on the radio with a couple of hits, noticeably Hate Me and Into the Ocean. Going into the performance I wasn't really a fan either way, though on the drive down to the show I listened to a really engaging interview with the bands lead singer, Justin Furstenfeld, as he talked about some of the troubles he's faced, noticeably two suicide attempts. As he has recovered he has dedicated part of teh money generated from his shows to charities helping to fight suicide and help those in need of counseling, which he had said really made a difference in his life. As they performed the songs, accompanied by electric violins, mandolins, and whatnot, you couple almost feel the palpable emotion coming from Justin as he sang. I was especially impressed with him as the say Hate Me to close out their set, he really laid everything out in that rendition of teh song and you could feel the aggression and emotion and memories that the song had cause bubble up during the performance. I was greatly impressed.

Up next was easily one of my favorite concert appearances of all time. Devo. A band that first broke onto the scene nearly 40 years ago took the stage and had a really awesome show. They erected a huge video board behind them that ran a strange allotment of classic Devo footage along with pop culture art and video in this weird medley of music and movie. The came out wearing grey futuristic jumpsuits and masks that covered their eyes, noses, and parts of their head, and set into a great performance of Don't Shoot! (I'm a Man) from their latest album which very much had a Don't Taze me Bro vibe to it. They did a couple songs off the new album, including Fresh, which I really liked having not heard that one before sliding into their biggest hits. All in all they did four costume changes, from stripping down the grey jumpsuits to show us that They ARE men, to the tear away yellow radiation suits of Jocko Homo to the flower pot hats of Whip It and Girl U Want.

I loved everything about the performance and I truly wished they had not been placed on at the brain scorching time of 4:30pm. To see the whole display and antics of the band at night would have really set it off. I am not sure if the whole audience really got the whole Devo experience, I heard comparisons to the band being like watching your father sing. I didn't see that all. I thought they put on a great show, a hybrid of the 80's and today and really proved themselves to be the father's of nerd rock. Their renditions of Mangaloid, Girl U Want, Gates of Steel, and the closing number Freedom of Choice was an experience I'll never forget and I am so glad I got to see them in concert. For me at least, they still had so much magic.

The next two acts are not bands I particularly like, Primus and Sublime with Rome. The pop that Les Claypool brought with his guitar work certainly shamed the reaction that the 20 something crowd had to Devo, but i thought the performance was fairly uninspired. Admittedly I could be the only one who thinks that. Claypool is certainly a virtuoso on the guitar and can make some especially unique music with his instrument, but I thought they didn't have much stage presence. Claypool put on a pig mask for a few songs while singing, and danced a few lazy circles, but they did get some good reactions during Jerry Was a Racecar Driver and My Name is Mud. All in all they were ok.

Next up was Sublime featuring Rome. Here I will admit to hating the band. I didn't like Sublime when they first came out in the mid 1990's, and I like them less now that they are basically a glorified cover band. Rome, replacing deceased lead singer Bradley Knowles, sounded like a pitchier version of the singer. Arizona alternative radio has always loved Sublime far more than I ever thought possible and within 3 songs I was already miserable at my spot close to the stage. So miserable that I forced my way out of the main concert area and watched the rest of the band's performance on the monitor back by the vendors. Let me preface this next sentence real quick, I don't mind people's personal choice to smoke, cigarettes, marijuana, whatever. It's a choice. There was so much weed being smoked up in the pit area that it made me nauseous. Shortly after the band sang Date Rape, I made my way out. It was overwhelming... and fairly miserable. I will say this though, they kept the rest of the crowd into it by singing all of Sublime's hits, like What I Got, Bad Fish, Smoke Two Joints, and the rest. For most people this is the first chance they had to see the band live, even if it was with a new lead singer.

The end act though made up significantly for my disinterest in the previous two acts, my all time favorite band, Weezer. They came straight out on stage to a roaring version of Hashpipe that the crowd was really into despite some technical issues with the equipment. Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo then went into a little speech about how they had been flown in on a private jet for the show and that it had actually been a little scary but hey, that's how the band rolls in 2010. He commented then that you have to take some risks. When then the band launched into Troublemaker and Rivers did just that the rest of the show, jumping on and off the stage recklessly and really interacting with the audience. The band stayed pretty close to thier hits, including Undone- The Sweater Song, Say It Ain't So, Perfect Situation, Island in the Sun, and even threw in Memories, their single off their newest album, Hurley.

It was during my favorite Weezer song, My Name is Jonas, that the show really went off the rails of normalcy. Grabbing a light up baton from the crowd, Rivers led part of the audience in an almost Olympian syle parade around teh perimeter of teh concert area to teh refrain " The Workers Are Going Home. before ascending a bank of ATM machines to sing Beverly Hills from atop of them. He didn't stop there either, as he continued to circle the perimter he ascended the fencing of teh VIP area and did a tightrope like walk across the fence top while singing Pork and Beans, specifiaclly the lines, "I'm a do the things I want to do" and "Excuse my manners while I make the scene."

He then made his way back onstage to sing the first encore, a medley cover of MGMT's Kids and Lady Gaga's Pokerface, complete with a blond wig and stage rolling gaga antics. They closed out with having some members of the audience come on stage and sing If You're Wondering If I Want You To before closing the show with Buddy Holly. I know a lot of die hard Weezer fans have called the bands latest efforts more commercial or soulless than their original efforts, like Blue or Pinkerton, but god damn they can fuck off. Weezer is the perfect rock band, fun, poppy, and audience pleasing. this is the second time I have seen them live and I have yet to be disappointed. They made the day out in the hot sun so worth it, cementing their status as one of my all time favorite performers.

In the end, I am deeply grateful for my pal Genji having hooked me up with his ticket and I wish he could have been there to enjoy the Weeze with me. Devo and Weezer was simply one of the best concert experiences and I can't wait for either to return! Tune in later this week for my take on another seminal band, The Pixies, as they show up in town Friday!

End of Line.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun: Past Sins

Chapter 26

Morgan spurred the horse down the trail. He'd been on the move about an hour by his reckoning of the sun's movement and he hadn't seen any other sign of life. He mostly cut across country, his horse wading through the tall grass. He tried to stay in the open field as much as he could, unsure of what exactly was happening. His mind turned over the events of the morning over and over, analyzing what exactly had happened. He couldn't be sure, but the blackening of the sun and the abhorrent resurrection of his wife and child had to be related somehow. He wasn't so superstitious as to believe that he was the only person who experienced this phenomenon, but at the same time he wasn't sure what to believe.

He knew how to kill the foul creatures, he just didn't know why they were resurrected. He brushed his hand across the edge of his father's tomahawk, feeling the single feather braided into the leather thong on the handle. He remembered his father telling him stories of Indian lore, telling him the stories of his forefathers. His father had been half Indian, a bastard child who had never known his own father, having been raised alone by his mother in the foothills of the Dakota's. He had grown up in a small village listening to group elders tell stories of their gods and of the old ways. Still he had never been accepted fully by the tribe and when he became a man, he set out on his own. Eventually his father had met his mother, and they married. His father never talked much about his mother, who had died of pneumonia a few years after Morgan's birth. He didn't even remember his mother, knowing only that she had been a run away too, though his father had often called her whore in the drunken rages after her death. His father grew more angry and resentful after she died, often taking those frustrations out on Morgan, whipping and beating him for no reason at all.

His father had tried to teach him the old ways, but after the death of his mother, Morgan didn't care for any God, the Christian one his mother had believed in, or the spirits his father did. Morgan was hurt, and angry, and destructive. One day the anger in Morgan's heart was to profound, and he stole away from his father, taking with him his few meager possessions, his rifle, and his father's tomahawk, the latter mostly out of spite. He had been 11 years old then. He spent the next two years eking out a meager existence, hunting for food and wandering from town to town. It was in Bisbee though that he ran into the man that would change his life. Lt. Martin Branager, US Cavalry. Branager hired the then 13 year old as a scout and errand boy, using him to translate among the different tribes of the Dakota's. Morgan idolized Branager, working with him for 3 years until enrolling in the Cavalry at 16 under Branager's command.

Morgan fingered the feathered leather thong on the tomahawk and closed his eyes, memories flooding back of the things he had done with the weapon during his time of service. He remembered the tribes they had attacked, his own people looking at him as he struck them down or herded them to a reservation. The names they had called him. He had been so angry in those days, just wanting to hurt anyone he could. He had idolized Branager and believed he was following Uncle Sam's orders. For the first time in his life, Morgan had felt like he belonged somewhere, that he was making a difference. He had believed Branager when he was told that life on a reservation would be safer for the Indians. It wasn't until years later that Morgan found out about the depths of Branager's depravity. Until that raid on that Blackfoot village. Morgan closed his eyes, burying the deep lump in his throat as he watched his comrades....his friends, slaughter those women and children. He watched as Branager gleefully struck down people who had peacefully surrendered, listened as his captain ordered him to scalp that young woman. He remembered the feelings of betrayal and the loss. The fear. His hands quivered in anger and guilt at the thought of it.

Morgan was broken from his revelry when he saw the river in the distance. He could continue across country and go through Hicken's Gorge, or follow the river the long way around. Cross country was quicker, but the Gorge was a mountainous path that boxed you in. The river would take longer but allow him more room to operate. He wasn't sure if there were more creatures like his wife out there but he knew enough of the old lore to believe that he couldn't be the only one to have experienced it. He pushed his hat back on his head and stared up at the dead sun, looking at the long black tendrils that stretched out from the once hot orb. He damn sure knew that he couldn't be the only one. He resettled his hat and spurred his horse towards the river. It would take longer to get to town, but right then Morgan Randall wasn't sure that was a bad thing at all.

End of Line.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Movie Time Rewind: Gone With the Wind

Hey all,

*edit* This review got REALLY long, sorry if I got carried away*

I thought today would be a great opportunity to do another Rewind column, one to keep the streak alive or posting 30 times this month, but mainly because I really want to talk about the film of the moth (or of last month), 1939's cinematic masterpiece, Gone With the Wind. I watched a wonderfully fascinating documentary on the film entitled The Making of a Legend: Gone With the Wind, which really rekindled my passion for the film and for the performances. Way way back when I first started this column I wrote a Rewind piece on Hollywood's Greatest Year, 1939, a year that saw the release of more historically memorable (and truly great) films than any other. The year 1939 is considered Hollywood's banner year, with the release of a score of films like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Wizard of Oz, Gunga Din, and Stagecoach among others. You can read the overview here

The story of Gone With the Wind is about Scarlett O'Hara, a southern belle growing up on a wealthy plantation named Tara. It starts off on the eve of the American Civil War with Scarlett secretly pining for southern aristocrat Ashley Wilkes, despite her knowledge that he is to be secretly wed to his cousin, Melanie Hamilton. After she confesses her feelings to him, Ashley tells her that he feels the same, but he is still going to marry Melanie. The exchange is overheard by Rhett Butler, disowned from his family and un-popular for his stance that in a war of the states, the South doesn't have the resources of the North and would lose. When war is announced, Scarlett agrees to marry Rand, a member of the Hamilton household, ostensibly to make Ashley jealous and to stay close to him.

During the war Scarlett is quickly widowed and moves into the Hamilton house to stay with Melanie to cheer her up, despite her true intentions, which were to wait for Ashley's return. She runs in Rhett again, now a Confederate hero, who announces his plans to win her over, which she adamantly refuses. She does steal a kiss from Ashley though, furthering her resolve to win him over despite his claims that he will never follow up on his feelings. As the war progresses, Scarlett and Melanie try to help the wounded soldiers, until the city is besieged by the Union Army. Scarlett helps Malanie deliver her baby during a difficult pregnancy though and manages to compel Rhett to steal them out of the city and to return them back to her home, Tara. Rhett guides them out of the burning city and the two share a passionate kiss before he returns to the war. Scarlett is left to discover her hometown nearly destroyed, though Tara still stands. Her father is stricken mad with grief over his wife's death, and Scarlett steals, herself, vowing never to be hungry again.

As the war draws to a close, Scarett is forced to become the family's source of income. She fashions a grand dress from her mothers curtains (a famous scene) and turns to Rhett, whom she believes is still rich. Discovering that he is broke and in jail, she instead turns to stealing her sister's fiance, Frank Miller, and through her own efforts, turns grows his business profitably during the re-building of Atlanta, by agreeing to work with Yankee contractors. She even manages to convince Ashley to run her sawmill by plying on his (and Melanie's) sympathies to keep him close. Sadly, Frank is killed after Scarlett is attacked and after another refusal from Ashley, Scarlett marries a newly fortuned Rhett.

Rhett vows to build Scarlett a new mansion in Atlanta and to rebuild Tara and the two have a daughter together. Rhett does everything in his power to win over the cold Scarlett and to ingratiate himself back into society, though Scarlett pulls farther away and tells him that they will not have another child and that they should sleep in separate rooms. Rhett tries to ignore his feelings of jealousy and after a night of drinking, announces that this is a night she won't ever forget and takes her to bed. The next morning, sober and disgraced, he apologizes and offers her a divorce, which she refuses. He leaves with his daughter in anger, but returns to find Scarlett pregnant with his child, though she doesn't want to have it. After an argument, she falls down some stairs and suffers a miscarriage. Rhett is racked with guilt and anger, which is compiled by the additional tragedy of the death of thier daughter and of Melanie, during a second pregnancy. With Melanie dead, Ashley is distraught and collapses, torn apart by grief. It's only then does she realize that she never really did love Ashley, that she loved Rhett. But by then, Rhett didn't care, walking out of her life for good, leaving Scarlett sobbing on the stairs, unsure of what to do next.

There are so many facets of this film that are fascinating, not the least of which are the trials an tribulations that were involved in getting the picture made. Gone With the Wind is a film based on a novel by first time author Margaret Mitchell, a girl raised in the south of Atlanta and who had been brought up being told stories of the devastation of the South during the Civil War by her mother. She was told about the splendor of the the Southern elite classes and the brutal falls from grace that many suffered during the war and their failure to recover afterward. As Mitchell grew older though, she very much immersed herself in popular culture. She defied modern convention at the time by becoming a reporter for the Atlanta Journal under the pen name Peggy Mitchell and writing a weekly column. It was during a period in 1926 when she broke an ankle that she first started the 10 year on and off project that would become the only book she would ever write, Gone With the Wind, based off the old stories her mother had shared. During a time where America was still in teh grips of the Great Depression and trying to ignore the growing perils around them in the world, Gone With the Wind gripped the country. The novel would go on to sell over 30 million copies and merit Mitchell with a Pulitzer Prize.

Film producer David O. Selznick had been a hot shot executive at arguably the biggest studio of the late 1930's and would present itself as THE major studio into the next decade. Selznick, though, wanted to be his own boss and make his own pictures. He had married Louis B. Mayer's daughter and using the connections he had made while at MGM, launched his own film studio on the old RKO lot, Selznick International Pictures. He produced some of the late 1930's better films, The Prisoner of Zenda, the original A Star is Born (which would be remade multiple times) and The Garden of Allah, all independently. Selznick was a perfectionist and wanted the best of everything put into one of his productions. He was even the first U.S. producer to bring Alfred Hitchcock to America, with Hitch's first American (and Oscar winning) film Rebecca the year after Gone With the Wind.

Selznick purchased the rights to Gone With the Wind from Mitchell the same week as the book was released after much consideration for the then unheard of sum of $50,000 in 1936. What began next was one of the longest pre-production tenures of a film in cinema history. Selznick turned to one of the premier freelance scriptwriters of the time, Sydney Howard, who was tasked with the herculean effort of trimming the novel down to a manageable film length. The nation was obsessed with Gone With the Wind, and the screenplay had to satisfy the expectant public. He worked on the piece for months, turning in a treatment in September that would have been nearly 6 hours long, and finishing the first draft in December of 1936. The script would go through numerous revisions over the 3 year production on the film, and despite the fact that only Sydney Howard is credited with the script, at least 5 other writers took turns at the script including Ben Hecht (another favored writer of Selznick) as well as Selznick himself, who reportedly once took a vacation in 1937 and took the script with him, in 4 suitcases. At one time Selznick, Hecht, and another writer, locked themselves in a room for 7 days and churned out another version of the script. Most believe that Howard was credited with the screenplay in the end for two reasons. One, the final script (which was never actually compiled as the scenes were often re-written the night before the shoot) most closely resembled his draft. The second reason was Howard's untimely death in 1939 after an accident on his far and it was considered a posthumous gesture of gratitude.

Selznick was an independent studio and one of his greatest concerns was the mounting costs of the picture. After a year of work on the piece and hundreds of thousands of dollars spent, he didn't have a script or a cast yet. Teaming with his close personal friend and Selznick Picture favorite, George Cukor, the two launched casting sessions while the picture was still being written. The casting of Scarlett was a national phenomenon, gripping the country in a frenzy. Nearly every leading lady of the day was interviewed and screen testes, from Katherine Hepburn and Tallulah Bankhead to Betty Davis. During 1938 a few clear front runners presented themselves, Joan Bennett, Jean Arthur, and Paulette Goddard. Goddard was the favorite early on though all three were still in contention in December of '38. A dark horse candidate had presented herself though a few months before, that of Vivian Leigh. Goddard had been in pictures for nearly a decade and had made a huge impact with Charlie Chaplin in his masterpiece, Modern Times. Leigh had starred in little of merit, but had come to America after leaving her husband and child to run off with acting great Laurence Olivier.

Even before the picture had been cast, Selznick needed to make room for the sets to be built. In order to clear enough lot space, Selznick decided to burn down all the structures on the backlot and use the footage for the burning of Atlanta sequence in the film. In truth, during the film, the burning structures of Atlanta are sets from The Prisoner of Zenda, The Garden Of Allah, even the great gates of 1933's King Kong are pulled down around them. Trick photography and stunt doubles were used during the filming that night to capture the scene, along with every Technicolor Film Camera in existence. Selznick invited many people to the filming to watch, including his brother Myron Selznick, one of Hollywood's first agents. The legend goes, Myron brought Vivian Leigh with him to the burning, and introduced her to David with the line, "Hey Genius, Meet your Scarlett."

Vivian Leigh had been acting for several years and went through a her screen tests, showing a range and talent that had not been as apparent in her earlier works and quickly won the part, officially getting it on Christmas Day 1938. Casting Rhett on teh other hand was a different matter. The entire populace of America knew exactly who should be Rhett Butler, the King of Hollywood himself, Clark Gable. Gable was under contract to MGM and in order for Selznick to get him to play the part, David had to cut a very lucrative deal with MGM. They would get distribution rights to teh film and 50% of the gross, in exchange Selznick would get $1.25 million in cash to make the picture and Gable. Gable wanted nothing to do with the picture, having made a period drama in 1937 which had flopped and Gable did NOT want to be embarrassed. Louis B. Mayer sweetened the deal by offering Gable $50,000 extra to essentially pay off his current wife so he could divorce her quietly and marry Carole Lombarde.

The other two principal actors also came with a price. Ashley Wilkes was played by Leslie Howard. Howard didn't want the role as he thought himself to old at 46. Despite his reluctance, he was really the only actor who had any command of the role in Selznick's eyes. Howard's dream though was to be a producer. To get him to commit to the role, Selznick offered him a producer's role in what would turn out to be Ingrid Bergman's breakout role, Intermezzo: A Love Story. Howard took the role and never complained throughout the process, though he never learned anyone else lines or read the novel his performance was based on, He gave exactly what he promised he would give. Olivia de Havilland desperately wanted the role of Melanie. She was under contract though but had once been a part of a packaged deal from Warner Brothers with Errol Flynn to be the film's lead when they were vying for the deal that MGM eventually got. Selznick auctioned many actresses, but it to de Havilland's personal plea to WB studio head Jack Warner's wife for her to get clearance to take the part.

Principal photography finally began in January of 1939. Selznick, while very involved with pre-production and casting for most of his pictures, usually didn't spend that much time on the set. For Gone With the Wind, he was on set daily. He and director Cukor argued over scenes and styles of the film, reshooting scenes constantly. Cukor was very much known for his ability to coach and direct women and Vivian Leigh loved working with him. They both had the same vision of Leigh, fiery, resolute, compassionate, tough. Clark Gable hated Cukor. He thought he was soft and didn't feel like he could trust the director to ensure that his performance in this "woman's film" didn't make him seem weak. Eventually the conflict on set grew so tense that Cukor walked off the set and Selznick told him not to come back. Surprisingly the two remained close friends. Shooting was halted for 17 days while Selznik worked on the script and arranged with MGM to get veteran director Victor Fleming. Fleming has replaced Cukor on The Wizard of Oz month's earlier and was pulled off the last few days of shooting their to take over the floundering set. Fleming took one look at the script and called it a mess and restored much of the Sydney Howard's version, who had taken another revision before his death.

Gable and Fleming got along famously and Fleming ran a tough set. Leigh, whom at one point adored the idea of filming this movie, did not get along with either. Her and de Havilland would often go see Cukor on the weekend who continued to coach the women on the film secretly. Despite this, or maybe even because of, Leigh would often ask to shoot longer and later, anything to accelerate the filming of the picture, one to get away from Fleming, and two, to return to her love Laurence Olivier, whom she was not allowed to see during filming. Selznick wanted his star to be "pure" and didn't want images of the two taken together.

Still filming on the movie stretched on, with Selznick insisting on re-writes and both he and Fleming pushing themselves physically with stimulants. Tensions stayed raw on everyone's accounts (except reportedly Leslie Howard) and even Fleming walked off the set for 2 weeks, replaced by Sam Wood. Allegedly Fleming left due to exhaustion, but most people believe it was punishment for Selznick's overbearing ways. he eventually returned and filming completed after 125 days.

Editing and effects works began immediately, a situation proven even more difficult with the fact that there was no real shooting script, Selznick having re-written the film so many times the only real copy was in his head. He and the film editors would lock themselves in the editing bays for days at a time, working 22 hours straight often, in order to get the film ready for its release. Many new techniques in special effects were also create on this picture. Much of the scenic shots and every ceiling was a matte painting or painted on glass and seamlessly added to the film. Even the music was done in a rush as Selznick wanted composer Max Steiner and waited until well after filming was completed to engage him on the picture. Steiner was contractually bound to another project at the time. The score was so far behind that when they previewed the first cut of the film in November of 1939, they used the score from the Prisoner of Zenda as enough music had not yet been written to accompany the picture.

Gone with the Wind debuted in Atlanta in December of 1939 and was an instant smash. The film went on to garner 13 (of the then available 17) Oscar nominations that year, winning 10 including best picture, best actress (for Leigh) best supporting actress (Hattie McDaniel who played Mammy the caretaker and was also the first Black actress to be nominated for the award, let alone win.) It also won best screenplay for Howard and for technical achievement in film making. Even Selznick was award for his efforts in film making as a whole. At the time, Gone With the Wind cost nearly 3 million dollars to make, marking it was one of the most expensive films of all time, though it would make it back at the box office. When adjusted for inflation, it remains the highest grossing film of all time, a huge task given it 3 plus hour running time.

Gone WIth the Wind carried a legacy as one of the greatest films of all times, even at the time of it's release. The scale and grandeur was unparalleled and the film's reputation certainly preceded itself. It made Vivian Leigh a star and gave her teh first of two Oscars. Despite being one of Gable's least favorite films, it remains a picture of his legacy. Hell, the legacy of Gone With the Wind would over shadow everything David O. Selznick would do for the rest of his life. Despite his success with films like Rebbecca, Spellbound, and a Duel in the Sun, nothing would ever quite measure up to Gone With the Wind. It cast a shadow on his career as both the pinnacle of his achievement, but the pinnacle of achievement at the zenith of Hollywood's golden age. Eventually Selznick sold the rights away to the film, where they eventually were picked up by MGM. Selznick was known to take gambles on a picture, as evidenced with this one, and it was only a matter of time before his gambling caught up with him. He sold his rights for $400,000 in the early 1940's. in order to keep his studio afloat.

Personally, while not my favorite film of all time, I do mark it as the greatest piece of film making I have ever seen. Every performance is powerful. Leigh literally alights the screen with her passion and the scope of the picture never fails to awe me. If you have never seen this masterpiece, do yourself a favor, and watch it. This is what a film can mean. This is really what a film can be. Gone With the Wind, from Selznick International Pictures.

End of Line.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Poetry: Element

Hey all,

I thought with the rather dreary nature of the poetry that I have been writing this month (and damn, I haven't wrote this many poems in one month since I first started the blog!) I thought it was time to do something brighter. Happier, love poetry is harder for me to write, mostly because I am rarely in a place of my own to channel these thoughts but today I really wanted to try. I will freely admit to looking an one of my favorite artists for inspiration for this poem today, Tara McPherson. The very first line of the poem is the title to one of her paintings, The Weight of Water. That title stuck with me as I looked through her art book for inspiration. Her art is usually very sad and forlorn and it helps me get my mind around other ideas. That particular piece provided the initial idea for the poem, using the elements kind of abstractly to belay the relationship of life on love.

I can tell a bit of a change in the blog for me since the restart. I am much more interested in writing creatively, new flash fiction or poems, than recycling movie reviews or other things. I'm certainly not giving up on them as I do enjoy the process, but lately I think to keep the motivation of this incredibly daunting goal which I have set for myself, 30 posts in 30 days, being more creative and less...well, opinionated or educated, has certainly been a key factor in my creative output.

As always, thank you for reading and any feedback is very much appreciated.


The weight of Water,

In snow or ice,

The cost of love,

To pay the price.

The taste of Air,

Whether smokey or sweet,

These choices we made,

For a life so complete.

The feel of Earth,

So grain or coarse,

It's the words that we say,

When we make our choice.

The sounds of Flames,

Flickered or enraged,

That ring on your finger,

Marking us engaged.

Fire and Earth,

Water and Air,

These bring to life,

All the ways which I care.

But one element,

I did leave, remiss,

The joy in my Heart,

Brought to life by your kiss.

End of Line.