“Toss out the worst elements of genre and literary fiction–and merge the best. We might then create a new taxonomy, so that when you walk into a bookstore, the stock is divided into ‘Stories that suck’ and ‘Stories that will make your mind and heart explode with their goodness.'”
Evening Soundtrack: A Seat At The Table By Solange Knowles
“I seriously doubt that some slave ship ancestor, in those idle moments between being raped and beaten, was standing knee-deep in their own feces rationalizing that, in the end, the generations of murder, unbearable pain and suffering, mental anguish, and rampant disease will all be worth it because someday my great-great-great-great-grandson will have Wi-Fi, no matter how slow and intermittent the signal is.”
“When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will use any means necessary to get what she has in this horror thriller from Nicolas Winding Refn.”
I’ll get right to the point: Refn’s erotic thriller (And it is a thriller. Yes, there are horror elements, but they’re fleeting), The Neon Demon is his weakest film in an otherwise impressive filmography. Now, with that being said, Refn’s worst is still 90% better than just about everything being released into theaters.
The Neon Demon is deeply atmospheric (Perhaps too much so?), and like the much maligned, Only God Forgives (Which I consider to be one of Refn’s best films), it is a love letter to David Lynch and his films such as Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive.
As with all Refn films, The Neon Demon is visually stunning and is like a living, breathing surrealist masterpiece. The problem is that most of the characters are just as two dimensional. There’s no meat to their actions, all style and no substance. But maybe this is the effect that Refn was going for? Young women obsessed with only two things: Beauty and how to make money from that beauty.
I can’t say I would recommend The Neon Demon to the casual viewer (Just move along, casual viewer, go find some super hero movie to occupy your time with.), but if you’re a fan of Refn’s films or enjoy subtlety crafted horror thrillers, it’ll be right up your alley.
I’ve been listening to Mos Def’s 1999 album, Black On Both Sides, a lot lately. It’s a great album, powerfully written and performed, it sounds like it could have recorded and released yesterday as opposed to seventeen years ago.
And that’s a problem.
The same problems, the same issues are still around, and chances are, if Mos had recorded the album in 1989, he’d still be singing about the same shit that plagues the black community and the poor of America.
Shit never changes and because of this, our country is in a cultural and creative malaise, and this ennui is crushing, constantly pushing us backward in time, or more accurately, keeping us in one place, our wheels spinning and burning rubber.
Anyway, along with Black On Both Sides, I’ve also been listening to A Tribe Called Quest’s first album in twenty years, We Got It From Here, Thank You For Your Service. It’s a great album and probably my favorite hip-hop record of 2016. Here’s ATCQ performing on Saturday Night Live this past weekend.
It’s the middle of the week and it’s summer, which means I have both the girls home with me. That also means this will be the only writing I get done today, at least until around eight o’clock tonight, and then I’ll probably be up until midnight because, you know, deadlines, money, all that shit.
I’m feeling a little nostalgic this morning and I started thinking about all the shit I cared about when I first started publishing that just doesn’t matter fuck all to me now.
Social media. I just don’t care anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I like social media, I like seeing pictures of your kids, vacations and reading about all the stuff you find important. But, I’m happy as hell that the age of “author branding” is a thing of the past. Or maybe it’s still thing? Who cares.
Having an agent. This was the holy grail. Getting an agent was pretty much on par with signing a book deal. Now, well, I make more money than most writers who have an agent, so what difference does it make? And don’t get me wrong, I dig agents, I know some really good ones. But, meh, if I need one, I’ll hire one. I just don’t consider it an accomplishment.
Genre. I realize this will always be something young writers care about (or writers who have a chip on their shoulder), but holy fuck is it a boring argument.
Education. Get your MFA, don’t get your MFA. Do whatever works for you.
“I love it so much I would do it for free”. You shouldn’t love anything this much other than your kids or your partner. I like writing, some days I flat out hate it. But I will never, ever do it again for free. Unless it’s this blogging crap, but it’s mine.
Getting bent out of shape about the “Big 5”, Amazon, traditional publishing, indie publishing, etc. Like I said about education, do whatever works for you.
Bitching about being a writer. SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP. Seriously.
Like I said, I’m feeling nostalgic today, so here’s some Tribe Called Quest.