Sunday, July 18, 2010

Murder I Can't Write

I cannot write fiction. I know I have an overactive imagination sometimes that entire telenovelas play out in my mind before the characters even actually meet, but I have trouble writing that imagination down, mainly because those telenovelas suck big time. Hence the term I used, "telenovela".

Every time I attempt to write something not about my life and not true it just ends up being some bastardized version of it. Like I would change the characters' names (duh), the places (duh), and exaggerate a bit on what actually happened, but basically it's not really fiction. Like poems, I define fiction as something I cannot do. Really, I don't do poems. I cringe at my own work, especially because they rhyme.

(Digression: Once upon a time I was so into this boy and so depressed and shit because he could not see it, that I wrote these...verses, if you could call it that, and asked a friend [who will not be named] to turn it into a song. I didn't actually hear the whole thing, just snippets of it but damn it was so sad that people would have slashed their wrists. Fortunately that version of my writing did not see the light of day. End of digression.)

So anyway. I told my friend Tin that I can't write fiction, and she invited me to this group called LitCritters. I've heard about it from years ago from Dean Alfar's blog but of course I never thought to join. I joined this Saturday's meeting and we were supposed to have already read three short stories and discuss it with the group.

Because I'm delinquent, I only picked one story written by someone I'm familiar with. Lamb to the Slaughter is a short story by Roald Dahl, he of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach. By the time I got to where Mrs. Maloney picked up the frozen leg of lamb from the freezer, the flashbacks came so fast they burned my retinas.

I was 11 and bored, and as always I looked for something to read. I picked up a tattered copy of Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone from my father's bookshelf. We used to watch the Twilight Zone every Friday night, so I figured the book would be interesting. And interesting it was. Until now I cannot go past a freezer full of frozen meat without murder entering my mind. That short story got me to read Lawrence Sanders after that, and any parent today would not let an 11-year old child touch one book of his. Especially The Third Deadly Sin.

When I was younger I couldn't connect the Roald Dahl of Chocolate Factory and the Dahl that wrote that short story. Now I realize that Mr. Dahl kinda hated children. Look what he did to the disobedient children inside the factory. One was miniaturized, the other went through giant rollers, and poor Veruca Salt with the squirrels.

Next time I attend a LitCritter meeting I promise to read all assigned stories, and now I know what to look for. Grammar not included. My brain is full today.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Dear John, Here's What I Really Wanted to Say

I have never been a fan of those tragic love story movies that featured young and heartbroken protagonists. They're usually subjected to so much heartache and heavy life-changing decision that it almost borders on child abuse. I call it the Nicholas Sparks genre.

I think it all started with A Walk to Remember starring Mandy Moore. I've never seen it and I don't intend to, ever. They say Mandy dies in the movie, and based on the rest of what people have told me, it's a ripoff of the classic Love Story.

There were so many more that followed, like The Notebook and The Last Song. All of them I haven't seen. Recently a friend wanted me to see this latest snoozefest called Dear John. "Why should I watch it?" "Amanda Seyfried sang a beautiful song in the middle of the movie." "Maybe it's more practical to just watch the song on YouTube?" "No, you have to see the whole movie to get the song."

I highly doubted his advice, but what the hell. Maybe in the future I will be asked some trivia question worth 1 million dollars and it would be about this movie. I don't want to regret this someday; that I had the chance to watch it and I didn't. The fact that this friend is a straight guy made me doubt his sexuality too.

So there's this soldier named John (duh) and this girl named Savannah. Yeah, who names their daughter Savannah? They get their freak on for two weeks then John leaves again to fight somewhere. Actually, they never got their freak on. They just talked about the moon, and coins, and autism. Frenzied letter writing follows between our main characters. They tell each other the "story" behind their respective shits for a year. A year. Then John gets a two-day break after 9/11 so naturally he goes and spends it with Savannah. And still they talked and talked and talked. They even argued.

And finally, they get their freak on.

I mean, who spends two weeks with a hot surfer dude who is also a soldier and can probably kill you with his bare hands (I said that to emphasize further the testosterone factor), and just talk about the moon and lie on the beach? To cut the story short they break up through a letter and they didn't end up together yada yada yada blah blah.

The best part of a summer fling is the knowledge that you will, come the end of summer, never see each other again. That sucks, yes, but it also makes the fling more intense. It's like condensing a year's worth of dating into 8 weeks or less. Logic dictates that if you don't have that much time you won't spend it arguing or discussing whatever profundity. You do that in normal relationships.

Besides, would you argue with this? Dear John, you should have taken off your shirt more. People wouldn't have been as bored.