So the graphic above of ROTTEN TOMATOES’ STAR WARS movie ratings — as well as some fellow geek-culture friends and beyond — has inspired me to defend my beloved RETURN OF THE JEDI once again. So . . . Ewoks aside (because they’re everyone’s whipping teddies), what the hell is so wrong about EPISODE VI? Granted I was only 9 when I first saw the movie in the theater, but all the Darth Vader (his eternal inner conflict with his better self, which he finally bested) and Emperor Palpatine (such pure diabolical evil, and the Dark Force lightning!!!) stuff left such an indelible mark on my young psyche. And then there’s the Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa twin sibling reveal, Yoda’s cryptic message and (un)timely death. The excellent opening scenes and set pieces at Jaba’s palace — and Jaba himself for fuck’s sake, that fat slab of gangster kingpin, and of course Salacious Crumb, the Sarlac pit, the green light saber, Leia and Lando in spy/infiltration and rescue mode, Leia and Han’s romance, C-3P0 as a golden god, a spectacular space battle with X-Wings (fighter jets in space were my favorite as a child — see: OG BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, BUCK ROGERS), the speedster bike chase in the forest, good triumphing over evil and yes, some medium-sized woodland creatures-turned badass to help save the day! What am I missing here?
Guest Blog | The following quotes are from the Medium blog post ‘Create something today even if it sucks’ by @emilywarna. Click the title for the full article.
We all have those days. The days of writer’s block; the days of beating ourselves into the ground over not being able to produce. When we think every piece of content we create is terrible. When we think our mind is letting us down.
We often forget that being good takes practice. Consistency requires dedication. Dedication to the craft, and dedication to yourself.
So ask yourself:
‘Who am I creating for?’
Reassess who you’re trying to impress. Remember, you’re writing for yourself just as much as for your audience.
By producing piece after piece, you’re setting yourself up for future victories. You’re identifying your strengths and weaknesses, how you function best, what circumstances you thrive under. You’re identifying your creative hours.
So yesterday I finally acquired the hardcover edition of one of my all-time favorite crime novels, Love Is a Racket (1998) by novelist/graphic novelist, showrunner and Academy Award-winning screenwriter John Ridley (you probably know of him or his work — Google him). I originally discovered and read this book in the Summer of 1999 and was addicted to it from the first page. I had checked it out in hardcover form from my public library. Already over a year past its initial release by the time I came to know it, the chances of acquiring it in hardcover at Barnes and Noble or Borders were slim-to-none, and used booksellers like Half-Price Books were an unlikely longshot (I’d never seen it on used shelves). So I just kept checking the damn thing out at various library branches every few years when I had the itch to read it (and wanted to recharge my own crime-noir prose batteries). I practically took ownership of this precious tome, hoarding it to myself for the full checkout duration multiple times and, yes, paying who knows how much in late fees on the thing per occasion. Eventually I came around to stalking Amazon, only finding a couple of different paperback versions and maybe one of those listings for the hardcover that had some astronomical price tag due to the scarcity of the edition or some such. Well, upon chance a week ago I found that rare “Only 1 left in stock – order soon.” offering from an Amazon third-party bookseller for a very low price ($4.99) and I eagerly pulled the trigger. And so now, at long last, after nearly two decades of our first acquaintance, this book and I are now together forever! #BookwormRuckus #MyPrecious
I am 35 (of 210) pages in of Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels (2014) by Brian Michael Bendis (Jessica Jones, upcoming Superman) and it is actually a pretty good read so far. Bendis tends to get a bad rap from a small but vocal segment of comic book fandom, but given his massive success in both the indie & corporate side of the comics publishing game with nearly two and a half decades of experience, the guy has much wisdom to impart on the subject of writing comics and graphic novels. Dude holds a professorship for comics/graphic novels courses at Oregon. There aren’t many books out there like this one and if you’re an intellectual you will glean information from any reliable source. #BookwormRuckus #ReadToFeed #ReadToSeed #ReadToSucceed
~ The Evening Muse #8 ~
Like most writers I constantly battle with confidence and the lack of constant validation (especially since I’m not publishing regularly anymore), but I’ve come to realize that one way to battle that is to simply adopt a certain amount of delusion — an elevated sense of self and ability as a writer — a delusion of grandeur, if you will. Essentially just have a belief in self that may not even be true, but so long as YOU believe it, that’s all that matters, right? It goes along with the old adage that “If YOU don’t believe in yourself, who’s going to?”
So this happened — Mastodon won a Grammy! The metal band’s 2017 magnum opus Emperor of Sand was hands down the best musical release last year for me, and the first song on that album, “Sultan’s Curse”, which was also the first song we heard from the LP, won the Best Metal Performance award. I’m not a watcher of the Grammy’s (and hell, they don’t even include the Best Metal Performance category in the telecast), but I’m extremely happy and proud for the fellas (pictured: Bill Kelliher, Brann Dailor and Troy Sanders — not pictured: Brent Hinds).
Guest blog from one of my favorite writers of novels and comics, the mighty GREG RUCKA, taken from his Tumblr FRONT TOWARD ENEMY.