Book Review – On Writing by Stephen King

Let me start this review off by saying that I do not often read Stephen King. I started The Stand a long time ago but my son was all of three years old at the time and the dead children disturbed me so much I couldn’t move forward with the book.

I’m sure I could read it now, but at the time I wasn’t ready for that sort of reality. I needed to keep my happy bubble of pretend-safety around my little boy. (C’mon, now, as safe as we try to keep our kids we all know there’s only so much we can do.)

While I haven’t read much of his work, I know who Mr. King is and have great respect for him. I’m not sure why it took me so long to pick this book up – it looks like it was written during my senior year of high school – but I’m pleased that I finally did.

This book is freeing.

Yes, he reminds us about some of the mechanics of writing such as the dreaded adverb or adverbial clause, but he only touches on these for a moment. But for the most part, Mr. King’s “memoir of the craft” feels like a commiseration.

He proves that reading and writing are magic. And he invites authors to embrace that magic, reminding us why we enjoy this craft in the first place. I recommend this book to any and all writers out there who haven’t already picked it up. It’s a worthy read.


Supernatural Re-Watch

A while ago I started re-watching Supernatural. I started from the beginning and only skipped one episode (Bugs) because I really didn’t like that one. Spiders and me just … no. I suppose if I ever really want to write a horror book I’ll just cram super-spiders in there and let them take over the world, but I digress.

I just finished with Swan Song last night and, due to the way instant video works, watched the most recent episode of the new season via Amazon as well. It’s amazing to see how Sam and Dean have changed in ten years, and how they have stayed the same.

Physically speaking I’d have to say that Sam (Jared Padalecki) has changed more than Dean (Jensen Ackles) but in terms of character motivations and what have you, both have been on a roller-coaster. Of course, they’ve both died a bazillion times and visited Hell or Heaven or Purgatory, not to mention the whole apocalypse thing, so you kind of expect them to be different now.

But as I was watching the show last night (About a Boy, which was wonderful, by the way) I couldn’t help wondering what it was about this show that hooked me. Why do I keep coming back to this story?

Supernatural is currently in its 10th season, which is amazing in and of itself. Shows don’t normally last this long. I’m not supernaturalcomplaining or anything, I love these guys. I love that it’s not the run-of-the-mill drama you find on television these days, rife with broken romances and people trying to find their place in the world.

Sam and Dean know their place. There might have been some question earlier on in the show, but when push comes to shove they’re built to “help people” and “hunt things” and while they might take a break from time to time they always come back to it.

But that’s not why I keep coming back to this show.

I keep coming back to this show because I would love to just hang out with Sam and Dean. They’re regular guys who make me laugh. Castiel and Crowley can come along too, though if you ask me they’re just as attracted to the very “humanness” of these brothers as I am.

What it comes down to is character. Dean’s jokes and Sam’s careful observation, the brokenness of both men from crap they’ve dealt with in the past or are currently dealing with today, it all adds to this complex brotherly relationship that is both common and extraordinary.

And on top of all that we get ghosts and monsters and the occasional apocalypse.

So … yeah. Supernatural is my favorite running show for all the reasons above. I’ll keep watching, and re-watching, for as long as I can. If you’ve never tried it, I encourage you to look it up. Currently you can find it on Netflix or you can go the Amazon route.

X-Men Days of Future Past – Review

I’ve never been shy about my inner Geek.

Well, I can’t really call it my “inner” Geek, can I? I’ve posted about playing Star Trek Online with my kid (we’re watching Voyager now, by the way) and I’ve talked about nearly every comic-based movie I’ve gone to see in recent years.

So … the cat’s out of the bag, so to speak.

I am a Geek. I love comic books, super heroes, novels with magic in them, and the occasional game. And, of course, I love movies that highlight these things as well.

It’s no surprise then that I loved X-Men Days of Future Past. It’s counterpart – X-Men First Class – went a long way with repairing the whole X-Men mythos after the fairly disappointing renditions done earlier. (I’m sorry. Rogue is my favorite character and they sort of broke her entire story in those early X-Men movies, which made me hate them.)

In any case, X-Men First Class and X-Men Days of Future Past made my Geek-self happy. And, as was the case in X-Men First Class, much of this had to do with the casting of James McAvoy as the young Charles Xavier.

(Allow me a moment to fan-girl squee.) X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past-character-bio-James-McAvoy-as-Professor-X

I know Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine was sort of the main character in this film, and yes, I do so love that man as Wolverine but … If you can’t get Professor X right, then the whole X-Men regime falls flat on its face. McAvoy has this captivating voice, much like his counterpart in the film, Patrick Stewart, and it was fun to watch them play against one another.

I did have some consistency questions for the plot but in light of the whole I really don’t care. (It’s a movie about mutants with super powers, let’s not try and treat it as gospel, shall we?) All in all, I quite enjoyed this movie and look forward to any and all future installments.