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Amy F. Quincy Author/Freelance Writer

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January 2014

Wait … I’m Confused

97577_galAre movies getting more confusing or am I just getting stupider? I mean, more stupid. No, stupider … more stupid. Ack! See?

I watched Oblivion the other night and couldn’t keep anything straight. My mind raced with questions as I tried to make sense of it all. Who were the good guys and who were the bad guys? Tom Cruise is fighting alien scavengers, but they appear to be human and are led by Morgan Freeman. Surely, Morgan Freeman isn’t a bad guy? I gave up trying to follow things when Tom Cruise started fighting another Tom Cruise and said his mind had been erased. When clones and memory wipes are involved, you know it’s complicated.

My question is this: when did movies become so hard to follow? I’ve come up with an answer. It’s not the movies. It’s me.

I think it’s part of the aging process, this inability to handle plot twists and turns.  I remember being younger and following (and loving) movies like Fight Club and Vanilla Sky. Movies that a majority of really smart people found mind-bending. But somewhere along the way, and God love her, but it’s happening, I’m turning into my mother. Now, more often than not, I’ll leave the theater with a ‘what the hell?’ expression on my face.

Except, Cloud Atlas. Oh, I was still thinking ‘what the hell?’, but I knew it wasn’t me. That was one confusing movie. Six different stories spanning several different cultures, various centuries and involving a wide cast of characters? I don’t care what anyone says, if someone says they got it, they’re lying. Or they read the book. Or maybe they’re a member of Mensa.

Mom and I were both hustled by American Hustle. (She must love it when I confess embarassing things on her behalf.) We loved it, of course, and followed it all until near the end, when we turned to each other to ask, “So, where did the two million go?” We got conned by the con movie. But I’m sure it was our fault, not director David O. Russell’s.

I’d blame it on my handicap, but I’m afraid that card’s all used up. In my defense though, with my vision, if something happens too fast, or the scene is too dark, or there are sub-titles, forget it. And with my poor hearing, I’ve become that annoying person in the theater whispering, “Now who is he again? I thought he was dead!?”

I think this is why I’m beginning to prefer the simple family drama. There’s nothing to follow except the family tree. That I can handle. Why, as soon as the kiss occurred in August: Osage County, I proudly whispered, “Aren’t they cousins?” (Don’t worry, that’s not really a spoiler.) I got it. I wouldn’t say I liked it (far too depressing for my taste, think family dysfunction on crack) but at least I got it.

And by the way — I think it’s stupider. Even though I’ve said ‘more stupid’ all my life. Stupider just sounds stupid. But I looked it up. And there it is in the dictionary. Stupid, stupid-er, stupid-est. Get it?

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The Idea Factory

blogSometimes I feel like my idea factory is about to be shut down. Like all the workers have gone on strike due to poor working conditions. They’re demanding higher wages. And shorter working days. I wish I could help them.

It’s times like these I’m grateful to have other writer friends to lament to.

And just like they say – when you’re blocked, you should write about being blocked. When you can’t think of an idea, you should write about thinking up ideas. Well, no one says that. I just made it up. But, I think it’s legit. I’m going to write my way out of the fear of never coming up with another good idea. So, here goes.

The first thing any writer (or artist, or songwriter, really anyone that needs ideas) should have is some place to keep notes. It can be special (a beautiful, leather-bound journal) or ordinary (a file folder full of scribbled-on napkins). The point is that all these scribblings are kept together. So you can locate and refer to them.

I used to keep a folder full of handwritten notes, back when my notes were handwritten. Now, I use a handheld voice recorder given to me by a friend. I just have to make sure I transcribe these notes onto the computer in full detail when it’s fresh. Otherwise, I’ll have no idea what I was talking about. Like the old recording I recently found with the words “bus,” “bad mood” and “whispering.” I’m sure it was brilliant at the time, but now it means nothing.

Any form of media can usually get the wheels turning again. Think pop culture: books, movies, television, magazines, music. There’s many a movie I’ve blogged about in the past and one post “all about books.” Literally. That’s what it was called.

I make time for TV and magazines. I consider it research. I’m not saying you can justify a subscription to Us Weekly – unless all you write about is fluff. But I do check out The Huffington Post and 60 Minutes from time to time for that purpose. And Downton Abbey is just a blog waiting to happen. Something about women’s rights and British high society. It’s still brewing.

Eavesdrop on conversations. People watch at the airport. It’s all “filling the well” as author Julia Cameron says in The Artist’s Way. Sound bites and snippets for nuggets of future genius. In fact, Ms. Cameron encourages students to take themselves on “Artist Dates” to continually fill the well of inspiration. And an Artist Date can be to any place that nourishes your creativity, even the unexpected places. Treat yourself to a museum, garden or park. How about a diner or coffeeshop? Even a cemetary.

The last place you can look for ideas is in your own head. It’s filled with a lifetime of memories that may spin off into your next great idea. Maybe you just need to open an old photo album or yearbook to remind yourself. And what’s not there, your mind can make up. Particularly in your sleep, so write down your dreams.

As for me, I’ve got to go make some notes. The workers have returned and my factory’s back in business.

Sicker Days

140110_0004I can’t believe I haven’t kicked this yet. I’m calling the doctor tomorrow. Enough is enough. I’m officially sick of being sick. Maybe later I’ll get it together enough to give you some nice quotes on sickness or post about your top ten cold myths debunked. Or maybe not. Right now I just can’t. I’m too sick.

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Sick Days

th2If I was laying low last week, this week I’m laying even lower. How’s that possible? I’ve been sick. I’m talking achey-all-over-headache-runny-nose kind of sick. But no fever. That’s an important distinction because I operate under the old  “starve a fever, feed a cold” principle. And my appetite definitely hasn’t been surpressed. So, I’m going with the flow.

I’m on the road to recovery now, but here are some thoughts I had while on my sick bed/couch:

  • Fireworks after January 4th are ridiculous, especially in the morning.
  • Prince George (Kate and William’s new royal heir) isn’t even out of diapers and already he’s made People Magazine’s list of intriguing people.
  • Wheel of Fortune is relatively easy.
  • Jeopardy is impossibly hard.
  • A true friend will bring you red beans and rice with fresh bread from the local green market.
  • A sick child will bring out the maternal instinct in even the most non-maternal of mothers.
  • Animals are a great comfort.
  • Animals that want to be close to you can be suffocating when you can’t breathe.
  • The movie Death at a Funeral is just as funny the third time.
  • You never get as caught up during this downtime as you think you will.

    The view lately
    The view lately

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