Archive for March, 2012

So, I haven’t really been posting a whole lot. I’m still getting used to working again. I have been getting a little bit done. I finished what will now be Chapter 7 of the “Dawn Prism”. I know what happens, more or less, in Chapter 8 and I’ve more or less fully concepted the giant monster that will be needed for that chapter. I’m currently working on an extensive story-crit for someone, but when finished I will set in on that next novel chapter.

I’m waiting for one more set of comments on “Galateon” before applying the finishing touches and sending it out. Got several stories that’d been sitting around back out yesterday. I don’t like having stories sitting unsubmitting, but since I have so much material its been happening more and more lately due to market overlap. I have to let them sit until a good place to send them frees up. This is further complicated by the tendency for many markets to close to submissions for long periods, and the new and growing trend of magazines wanting you to wait a week after a response to send them anything else.  Strange Horizons seems to have really picked up the pace on their responses, though, so hopefully I will hear back from them soon about “Book of Sorrow, Tears of Hope.” I have a story, “Damsel in Distress,” in the second reading-tier with New Myths and a few other submissions that, judging from their time out, seem to be under deeper consideration, so perhaps I will have some good news to post soon.

Also, sometime soon I plan to put the two stories I’ve posted here on The Key of the Twilight on my old Elfwood page, along with a link to the blog in hopes of one or both getting a Moderator’s Choice and perhaps creating a little more traffic and interest. So, with that I will head off into the land of critting, and post when I have more interesting events to share.

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So, been a while since the last post. I’ve started working again, so that’s taking up a bit of my time and/or energy. It hasn’t been a total loss though…I revised my last short story, “Galateon” and after a run past a couple pairs of eyes to check for errors I’ll be getting it ready to send off, probably starting with Clarksworld.

My next trick will be to figure out exactly what happens next in “The Dawn Prism.” Actually, I know more or less what happens, I just need to figure out how and with exactly what.

At the same time I am mentally percolating the beginnings of a story involving the Jersey Devil.  I saw a Jersey Devil movie a week or two ago and while it wasn’t that great, it did inspire me. I plan to use the Mother Leeds legend and the Leeds devil to explore themes of shame.  In light of this, I ask anybody who is from New Jersey or has otherwise spent time in the Pine Barrens and/or is well versed in the legend to share any personal stories, insights, regional information or anything else you feel might be helpful for or should be included in a story set in the Barrens and dealing with the legend. I want to get the feel of the place right on all sensory levels, but I’ve never been there so its more difficult.

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So, the other day I was browsing Netflix, as I am wont to do. For some reason or other, I clicked upon the Common Sense Media rating of some movie or other. I’ve noticed those for a while, but never looked that closely. When you click the rating (which is described in terms of an age range and an appropriateness level, such as “Iffy for 13+”) you get a fuller and more comprehensive explanation of the movie’s content. I dislike that it is still a “rating” system, and I disagree with both many of the conclusions they come to and the overall perspective from which the comments seem to be coming. However, I really like the fact that what you get when you click is an actual disclosure of specifics-often even including comments for context-which, really, is what I feel we should have as a primary media guide  instead of any sort of “rating” system. I don’t think anybody should be trying to tell anybody what is or isn’t appropriate for them, for their children, or for people of a certain age range in general-rather, I think we should be able to know what kind of stuff is in a movie, and make decisions based on that.

That, however, isn’t the primary thing this post is about. The primary subject of this post is going to be me ranting about the Common Sense Media comments on a particular movie, last year’s “Red Riding Hood.” As some of you already know, I’m a pretty big fan of the movie. I saw it some months back, got it from Netflix and watched it twice, enjoyed it very much. It inspired me to write my own adaptation of the Red Riding Hood story, “Iron and Fire.” In the movie’s version of the story, the Red Riding Hood character, Valerie, is in love with Peter, a woodcutter like her father, but it’s been arranged for her to marry Henry, the blacksmith’s son. Along with the obvious werewolf issues, much of the movie is a love story centered around Valerie and Peter…indeed the first scene is a flashback to them flirting when they were about 12 and the second scene is Valerie telling Peter of her arranged marriage and the two of them making plans to run away together…until being interrupted by the horn-call from the village, indicating an attack by the Wolf.

So now we come to the Common Sense Media part. The article on the movie says various entirely valid and accurate things about the violence and other potentially problematic content, all presented, I think, pretty reasonably. Then, under the heading of Social Behavior it says that much of the movie’s message has to do with relationships, being focused on a message of “I’d do anything to be with you” which, they feel, is potentially dangerous for adolescents-that the message of love conquers all is dangerously mixed with the idea that a person should be willing leave their home and family for the one they love (I had previously posted a quotation of exactly what was said but I noticed it says “all rights reserved” so I removed it and paraphrased.)

First off, I think this is pretty out of context in terms of the movie. Valerie and Peter’s relationship is perfectly healthy and normal-until Valerie is told by her mother that she has to marry someone else. The reason initially given is for her financial well being-Peter is a poor woodcutter, Henry’s family is the wealthiest in town. However, we find out eventually that the REAL reason involves her mother trying to essentially clean up a mess left over from some poor life-decisions of her own (which, indeed, come about as a result of her being made to marry someone she didn’t love.)

Second, while I can understand why people might feel the “anything for love” message could be dangerous for young people who may be involved in unhealthy, even dangerous relationships…the thing is, that isn’t love. Of course I realize many people think young folks can’t tell the difference, but I personally disagree…people of ALL ages get, and stay, in destructive relationships for a variety of reasons. That isn’t what the movie portrays…it portrays two young adults one of whose parents are trying to force her into a situation that would in fact be unhealthy, to try and fix a problem of their own making. In the context of this movie, the message of “always do what your parents say” is the one that would in fact be dangerous. I don’t know much about the Common Sense Media people (I plan to research them eventually as I do like a lot of how the system works) but chances are they would find what I just said objectionable, and probably have issues with anything that suggested to young people that their parents may not know what is best for them. Now, no one is a bigger advocate for parents rights than I, but the simple truth is not every parent has their offspring’s best interest at heart at all times…and not all adolescents are ignorant, hormone-driven morons.

I must admit though that I may be a little biased…as I think many of us gay folks would be about this issue. I left home when I did (which wasn’t early at all, but it wouldn’t have happened when it did) because I fell in love with another guy and my parents (primarily my mother) were not about to let me participate in a homosexual relationship while living in their house…so I left. As with everything, it is about balance. Should a young person listen to and respect their parents? Of course. Should a person…particularly a legal adult…not be with someone they love because their parents (or society) don’t approve? I really, really don’t think so, and I think the real message of the movie is simply to follow your heart, which I don’t believe is ever bad advice.

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