Muscle memory and the writer…

I’ve had a bit of an odd job in my day job for the last three weeks or so. Not odd in that its something unusual to me, but the exact opposite in many respects. Unlike my normal day job, I was engaged to install from scratch a huge interconnected data network. Rather than my usual daily grind of maintaining an existing huge interconnected data networks… This may seem somewhat irrelevant to my other life as a writer, beyond what I do to pay the mortgage and keep the lights on, but bear with me, there is a point to this…

Installing huge interconnected data networks involves working with, and installing, a lot of network cables. This is not something unusual to me as it is basically what I used to do for a living in my twenties. Running in cables and dressing them, so they look neat, indeed the act of running cables through your hands and sorting through them to avoid kinks, little loops and knots is something of a dark art. You can not really teach someone how to do this, trust me I have tried with a couple of my colleagues in the last couple of weeks,  you learn by doing. More specifically your fingers learn, your hands learn, and your muscle’s ultimately learn… by doing the work. I did this for over a decade in my early working life. After a couple of days working with cable again, my fingers just remembered how to do it well, and the job was remarkably easy.

Of course, while muscle memory is a great thing, muscle amnesia is not so helpful. After a long day of working with cables, and running up and down ladders, and clambering over network cabinets I found I would go home and my body would suddenly remember that it is not in its early twenties anymore. Indeed it took great pains to point this out for several evenings on the trot… Mostly in the form of cramp, aching limbs and a knee that decided not to work when I stood up from the sofa at one point…  But still, after a few days, muscles I had forgotten about suddenly were remembering things and the work got steadily easier on the old frame…

Whats this got to do with writing, well rather a lot it seems to me. After the last post on getting back into the writing habit, I have actually been doing just that, and writing about five hundred words a day. Yet those first few days those five hundred words were a grind. It was hard work, and my brain was kicking back at me for the abuse it was suffering, in much the same way my body was doing because of the current work in the day job. Some of this was possibly to do with that day job project sapping my mental energies as well as my physical ones, but for the most part, it was simply kicking back against my making it think like a writer for a while.

Then muscle memory kicked in, and after a few days of hard slogging the years spent hammering away at keyboards started to pay off once more. It got easier, for no other reason than my brain (just another muscle in many respects) remembered subconsciously what it should be doing, and the words started to flow, five hundred a day became easy, and I am probably averaging closer to eight hundred a day now, and the mental muscle memory is taking the strain.

There is an old quote, which has more than a little truth in it. There are a lot of variations, but this particular incarnation is ascribed to Henrey Miller…

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But its not just about writing a million words, throwing them away and suddenly you’re ready to be a writer. It’s about training those mental muscles. Building the synapses and mental pathways, so you think like a writer, or to be more exact, think like the writer you are. Then with luck, they will kick in when you need them and help with the heavy lifting.

To quote the Laird of Maine…

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So, for the aspiring writers out their, my advice is simple, write, write and write some more. Write stories, write dialogues, write little skits and write longer forms, write shopping lists as adventures between the aisles, write anything, write everything, even silly little blog posts like this one. But do the most important thing and write a lot.

Train your mental muscles and they will pay you back a thousandfold…

Speaking of which, need to get some more writing done myself…

Adios for now

Mark

Posted in goodreads, nanowrimo, opinion, pointless things of wonderfulness, writes, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ending the drought…

I’ve had a bit of a dry January. Not that apocryphal one that borderline alcoholics and fitness obsessives have made popular in the last decade or so. ‘I shall not partake of strong drink for thirty-one days after the excesses of the holidays...’ as the self-righteous pledge goes, made by those who buy into the fad. Not that there is anything wrong with doing so btw. I am just a little sick of people telling me they are doing so as if not having a drink for a month somehow makes them a better person… If you feel the need to make a big thing to people about not drinking for a month, then perhaps you should consider what that says about your drinking habits the rest of the year… But I digress…

The dry January I have been having has actually been a longer dry spell than just one month. It started around mid-November, just after my failed NaNoWriMo, with pressures of both work and social life causing me to put the writing to one side for a while. I have not put pen to paper or stroked a keyboard in anger since then. This is not writer’s block I should add. To suffer from writer’s block, you actually have to write. I just took a step away from writing for a while to recharge my batteries and do other things for a while. Also it very difficult to find a rhythm to your writing habits when you’re assaulted by all side with other things that need to be done. The festive period is never the most productive on the creative front…

Which brings me to now, and the tail end of a drought on the wordsmithery, which includes writing this blog. Like most writers, I need a little discipline when it comes to putting one word in front of another.As Niel Gaiman said, writing when it comes down to it is as easy and as hard as that at the end of the day, but some days that’s harder than others. Somedays you can start with a word and just not finds the motivation to write the next, even when you know what the next word is… Which makes it all too easy to go and do something else for an hour or so, which turns into two, which turns into the rest of the evening. But that doesn’t matter as there is always tomorrow after all… except, of course, tomorrow is always a day away and when tomorrow becomes today there is that thing you wanted to get done so writing can wait little longer…

You see where I am going I am sure. If you let yourself procrastinate, you’ll procrastinate away all those tomorrows that never come. At least, I will. Experience has taught me I need discipline in my writing if I want to actually write. To quote another big name…

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Though to be fair, inspiration is not really my problem, its simply applying a bit of self disapline, but to pick another quote out of the air from Mr King…

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Though he neglects to mention what he actually means is you’ll have a first draft done and a whole lot of edit ahead of you… But in essence, that’s hard to argue with.

So this is something of a statement of intent on my part, though the intent is my own, and the statements are to myself, and it’s not 300 words a day, I tend to work towards a thousand a day, which I have mentioned before. Its time once again to get back into the habit, or good habits at least, so back to a thousand words a day or at least five hundred for now as a lot of what I am doing is editing which is always slower by necessity. Dry January is almost over, batteries are recharged and its time to get behind the keyboard set some targets and work to them. So I am doing just that, and going to make myself put writing first and stick to my targets.

If your a writer yourself, or indeed just would like to be one, I can recommend setting yourself targets and times to write. I can also recommend taking the occasional time out, as it stops you getting stale, or stops me at any rate… And I’ll sign off with one last quote, form ray Bradbury this time. One to keep in mind if you want to be a writer. One which I remind myself of whenever I have these dry spells or occasional moments of self-doubt…

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And with that, I am off to start writing again, 500 or so words a day minimum…

From tomorrow …

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Grim synopsis…

In a possibly vain attempt to have my novels published by a small independent publisher, rather than be purely self-published I found my self-having to write synopsis’s of my two published novels and the forthcoming third novel ‘A Spider In The Eye…’ Actually, I probably didn’t strictly speaking write synopsis’s but it was close enough for the purpose and was actually fun to try and do. After all, I wrote about 200000 words between these two novels, condensing that down to something simple and to the point was strangely challenging.

Anyway having done so I thought I would throw them up here, because, well why not.

 

Cider Lane: Of Silences and Stars

The novel centres around two protagonists, Susanna and Colin who each for reasons of there own past find themselves on the fringes. Sue, a sixteen-year-old school girl, has had some serious issues in her young life that have left her isolated and emotionally withdrawn, but these come to a head when she is involved in a horrific car crash of which she is the only survivor. the trauma of this event causes her to fall back into withdrawal from the world. Into a metaphysical dark cave of her own creation. Hiding in this cave from the horror of the crash and the implications of it she wanders away before help arrives, becoming lost within the darkness of her withdrawal she stumbles along until she finds herself at an abandoned cottage in an old orchard, in the middle of nowhere, and it is here, by necessity as much as anything else she slowly starts to emerge from her withdrawl. But the implications of the crash and her own isolationist personality keep her form wanting to leave the cottage and return to the ‘real world'( for want of a better word.)
Colin, is in his early thirties, a man who has also withdrawn from the world, though the circumstances are different. highly intelligent, a gifted childhood and going to university at fifteen left him struggling to make relationships and understand people as a whole. Despite this, he managed to become a lecturer at an age where most of his students were only just younger than him. yet this too led to disconnection, until he found it in a relationship with one of his students, all be it a girl only a couple of years younger than himself, inhume he saw much of himself in his student years of isolation and depression, ultimately this relationship was doomed and also this lead to his disgrace, and been sacked from his job. He moved to Manchester to a new post and studied addiction and addicts, but a traumatic discovery left him moving from studying drug culture to addiction himself. By the time the novel opens he has fought and won his battle with addiction but is now homeless and travels the country scratching a living as can be found for those of no fix abode. Which brings him after a while to the cottage in the orchard, an old ‘stay’ of his he has been using for several years. and Into contact with Sue. Recognising her as one of the lost, he seeks to help her reconnect with the world and help keep her safe.
Together, through several mis-starts and mistakes, they form a bond and sue slowly begins to reconnect with the world. But that reconnection is fragile, and built on feels she develops for Colin, feelings he is only too aware are miss places and that he can not share. he knows his attempts to reach her may be flawed and the bridges he builds with her may be set on sand. but he tries, all the same, to do what he considers to be the best thing for her. While finding that in doing so he can lay to rest some of his own demons…
meanwhile, off page save for a few chapters, a search is going on for Sue, the lost survivor of the car crash, but one of the police officers in charge has his own issues in his past which will ultimately loom large in the end of the novel.

(I never claimed it was a cheerful tale 😊) though it does have a thread of humour running through it alongside some fairly serious concepts and ideas.

Passing place: Location Relative

The novel centres around Richard, a professional musician whom wife committed suicide after a long battle with depression two years before we meet him. His response to this tragic event, and his way of dealing with his grief, was to go on a quest to find the answer to that most impossible of questions, why?,. He sold everything he owned, bought a car and set off across America, before selling the car and started riding the greyhound busses instead once the money started running out. Always moving, never finding an answer because there was no answer to find, driven by his grief and a sense of anger with the universe. When we meet him he is at the end of this journey, broke, with just the clothes he is wearing, stood at a bus station in a mid-west town he doesn’t even know the name of, at midnight in a thunderstorm, at which point a cat, of all things, draws his attention to a card the bus station window. ‘Piano player wanted, Esquiths Piano bar and grill, Location relative…’ Intrigued despite himself, he sets off into the night for the centre of this nameless town to find the bar. As much as anything, because its something to do, and because he had the strangest feeling the cat drew his attention to the card by talking to him. He doesn’t rule out hysteria at this point… The bar proves impossible to find until he suddenly does, in a place he was sure he found nothing moments before, again he is not ruling out a lapse in his sanity at this point… Despite this, he enters the place anyway.
So Richard finds himself playing piano in this odd little bar that is not always so little, The doorman tells him a tale which is ridiculous on one level, tragic on another, and impossible in its entirety, yet has echoes of his own. This is but the first of tales he hears in the bar, from other staff members, and its patrons. A gunslinger tells him a tale of an old west that never was, and a death that stalked in from the high plains. An Inuit tells him the saga of the Ice queen, the longest of nights and diamonds shed like tears. The grey man who cleans the floors tells him of the grey world from which he comes, while the chef in the kitchen makes him sandwichs before he orders them by bending the laws of causality. Other tales are told and each seems to hold a meaning if only Richard could grasp what the meanings were. The green haired girl behind the bar shows him the Forrest in the cellar and he walks through Paris on a hot summers night fifty years before he was born. For as Sonny the doorman explains, the bar is a passing place, that sits between worlds, and its doors can open out in to anywhere, and anywhen… But never to the one place and time Richard would most wish to be, a bathroom in the lower east side two years and a few hours ago where he could finally get an answer to that impossible question, or prevent it ever needing to be asked in the first place…
meanwhile, something lurks in the darkest corners of the bar, something threatening, something sinister, and something red… and the cat’s still talking to him…

In essence its a story about stories made up of stories being told in a bar after hours somewhere between late and early. It’s also a story of seeking salvation and solace in strange places. It’s also a damn good way to write a book of short stories and sandwich them around a greater novel but hey I have never claimed otherwise…

 

A spider in the eye.

This is my current project, which has a working second draft. It’s a steampunk setting, first-person tale with an unreliable narrator who is a self-confessed liar, braggart and thief. Hannibal Smyth ( harry smith). I wrote the first draft for fun in between other stuff so it was mildly silly, it still is but its a lot neater and actually coherent now as a narrative. While ist steampunk, it is set in the modern day, sort of. Time got a little twisted by a gentleman by the name of Wells who discovered time travel and the horrors of the 20th century and decided he had to do something. What he did was prevent the death of good old Queen Vic , in the mistaken belief that the British Empire could hold the world together if old iron knickers were around to hold the empire itself together. Progress, sort of stagnated at this point the went off wildly in another direction. I have drawn on as much early sci-fi as possible with this. (yes Wells has the initials HG… sue me) including using ‘She’ and the well of life, so that several major historical figures, like old iron knickers, are still about. the wars of the twentieth century were avoided but colonialism never ended as a result. It also means that several modern day figures are in the book, in guises that are somewhat unfamiliar. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are rival mad scientists one of with is obsessed with optics… eye this eye that etc… Vladimir Putin is a jumped up airship pilot turned captain with ideas above his station and several large chips on his shoulder and utterly disrespected by everyone… and other fun stuff.
meanwhile, old Harry is on death row waiting for the noose when he is made an offer he can’t refuse by ‘M’ an agent of the mysterious ministry. All he has to do is track down some deviant who is raising an insurrection in India who it seems is determined to bring the empire down. As events continue to drag old harry through the mud, knock him out, capture him, torture him, tie him to bedposts and have at him with knives, he often wonders if the noose was preferable after all…

 

The first two are of course available if you find your interest peeked, the third is still a work in progess..

Posted in book reviews, books, cider lane, goodreads, horror, Passing Place, pointless things of wonderfulness, publication, reads, sci-fi, self-publishing, writes, writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Obsessions…

Writers in my experience have a tendance towards the obsessive end of the spectrum. We obsess about our stories. We obsess about our characters. We obsess about individual sentences. On occasion, we obsess about an individual word… Sometimes we obsess about where to put a comma. Often in my case…

Patrick Rothfuss, for example, explains why it takes him so long to finish writing a book, (and as a fan of his work, impatiently waiting for book three of the Kingkiller Chronicles, believe me when I use the words ‘so long’)  because he obsesses about the minutiae of sentences and getting them exactly perfect. It has nothing to do with everything else he has going on in his life, all the Comicon’s and Dragoncon’s he attends, all the amazing charity work his modicum of fame has allowed him to do, or fatherhood and all its time-consuming all-encompassing labours. it’s just down to his obsessive desire to find the perfect sentence, with each and every sentence, or in his case every single fragment. Patrick may be an extreme example, be he is far from alone in his obsessive nature, as I said, all writers are in my experience, obsessives.

It is not, I am of the opinion, because we are writers than we are excessive in our obsessional natures. I believe you need a touch of the obsessive about you to be a writer in the first place. For it is obsession, (and rum quite often) that drives the desire to write a story, at least, if your chosen passion is the writing of novels. You need to find that sense of completion, of telling the whole tale, of following your characters journeys, to the bitter end. Even when, as often happens, your characters start ignoring the stage directions and wandering off on their own merry oblivious way.

“Oh you had a plot did you, well fair enough but I just want to look over here for a minute first…”

I am aware this may just be me, and I might just be projecting my own flaws on others. But a certain level of clinical obsessive-compulsive disorder is required if you’re going to be a novelist, and if you are said novelist it is highly likely your obsessive nature also enters other aspects of your life. To be blunt, I do not just obsess about my writing, I obsess about everything I do, and sometimes I forget I do this and I find I have slipped down into a dark cave of obsession and forgotten to come up to breath. This, it has to be said, is not always good for my health, mental or for that matter physical…

In my time I have become obsessed with many things. I almost always binge watch TV shows, as if they hook me in I run to the obsessive about watching them, but even something like 7 seasons of the West Wing is a manageable obsession, as tv shows always have an endpoint, even if its only till the next series is out… Fall Out 4 was another recent obsession. Video games as a whole tend to drive my compulsive obsessive side when I play them, I want to explore everything, do everything and see everything. So I will run through once, then do so again with a new character, making new choices. Or I will play Civilisation and play every playable nation, every different approach. But these too have an endpoint. Just like a novel, they have a conclusion to get to. A point the obsession can end and you can move on… Not all things have natural endpoints to them, points when you have done everything, filled in every square, completed every quest, finally pout the comma in the right place…

Obsession and depression are very similar words for a reason, they have much in common and overlap each other. Obsession can lead to depression if you are not watchful. Pouring too much of yourself into any one thing is a dangerous course to follow. Particularly if you let it take too much of a hold, and let obsession drive you. Some obsessions are worse than others in this regard.

This post then is a note to myself, to remind myself of my own nature. I have started playing World of Warcraft again, a game that you can never finish, that has no end point, and that is vast in its own complexity. I have played it before, I both love and by equal measure obsess about the game.

So this is a note to myself, to remind me to step away from the keyboard and leave Azeroth behind regularly, and not let obsession become my master. I have novels to write and many other things to obsess about… Now just one more quest…

 

Posted in depression, humour, opinion, pointless things of wonderfulness, rant, sci-fi, warcraft, wow | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Positive Is The New Negative…

Last year I published a blog like this with quotes from the darker side of writer’s minds. In an attempt to balance this a little, and in the spirit of a new year, new hopes, new dreams and positive thinking, here is a collection of the great and the good, giving advice on positivity, that thing we are told has a power to it… It is not normally my thing but what the hell, it’s a new year, if you can’t be positive right at the start of one, when can you be…

Why not go out on a limb, that’s where the fruit is.  ~ Mark Twain

Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m Possible. ~ Audrey Hepburn

A drop of ink may make a million think. ~ Lord Byron

It is perfectly okay to write garbage-as long as you edit brilliantly. ~ C.J.Cherryh

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favour. ~ Edgar Rice Burroughs

Okay so positives good, but strangely hard to find, so I ended up going a little darker than intended with this post… sorry… and back to Edgar…

I have been successful probably because I have always realized that I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly. ~ Edgar Rice Burroughs

There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write. ~ Terry Pratchett

Tell the readers a story! Because without a story, you are merely using words to prove you can string them together in logical sentences. ~ Anne McCaffrey

Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards. ~ Robert A. Heinlein

And thanks to Robert for that one…

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Moving on to a bit of advice from the great and good…

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary-it’s just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences. ~ Somerset Maugham

First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him! ~ Ray Bradbury

I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose. ~ Stephen King

I get my best writing done when I’m supposed to be doing something else entirely. And that’s why I keep my day job. ~ Joyce Rachelle

The last one sums me up… well, that and the need to pay the mortgage…

Finally the last word from Joel Osteen, which seems apt given my normally jaded view of the world…be posative or quiet

Posted in goodnews, humour, opinion, pointless things of wonderfulness, quotes, reads, writes, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Unnameable: The Complete Lovecraft #39

What is it about Randolph Carter and sitting around in graveyards, it never turns out well for him, you would think he would learn… At least this time he is in the pastoral surroundings of New England rather than the middle of a swamp… We last came across Carter, one of the old tentacle huggers favourite and oft a tad ‘autobiographical’ characters in The Statement Of Randolph Carter of which I gave a somewhat damning summing up.

…simple and straightforward, without any real depth to it. A run of the mill tale that never quite steps out beyond itself…

The same could be said, sadly, of ‘The Unnamable‘. Indeed it is even more run of the mill as unlike ‘Statement’ it was not even breaking new ground at the time it was written. ‘The Unnameable’ is, you see, at its heart is no more than a fairly straightforward ghost story. It treads an oft-tread path that was no more original a hundred years ago than it is today, but let’s not damn it for that. There are no new stories after all, as the argument goes, there are only seven basic plots, and so a tale is all in the telling… And it is in the telling that this tale gets interesting…

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As you might glean from the above panel, (borrowed from Alan Moores Providance#8), there is a certain measure of self-awareness in Lovecraft’s telling. There is a meta quality to this tale, the character of Carter is both narrator and Lovecraft himself, and in the earliest parts of the story, he talks about his own writings and the criticisms that were undoubtedly thrown at him by some of his peers. Or as Carter puts it in the tale…

…my constant talk about “unnamable” and “unmentionable” things was a very puerile device, quite in keeping with my lowly standing as an author. I was too fond of ending my stories with sights or sounds which paralysed my heroes’ faculties and left them without courage, words, or associations to tell what they had experienced…

The whole story is a thumb in the eye to his critics in fact, with Carter’s friend Joel Manton playing the role of ‘devil’s advocate’ and foil to Carter spouting Lovecraft’s own opinions on his style.

(A character based on Lovecraft’s real-life friendship and correspondence with the wonderfully improbably named Maurice W. Moe, who I really hope was referred to as MoMo by everyone because that’s how the universe should work…)

MoMo… Sorry, Manton argues that nothing is unnamable because everything can be experienced through our senses, so ultimately everything can be perceived and therefore named. While Lovecraft… Sorry, Carter argues the opposite and refences the ‘haunted’ house of local legend that surrounds the providence graveyard. Noting the stories of strange events and strange apparitions that abound in the New England town, and experiences he himself has had. Though Carter dismisses his ability to win over Manton with his arguments, very dismissively as it happens with the glorious words…

…the futility of imaginative and metaphysical arguments against the complacency of an orthodox sun-dweller…

Anne Rice, eat your heart out.

All this is, of course, the set up for what becomes a somewhat predictable ending and a slightly predictable tale. The discussion between the two principal characters about the relative nature of perception, the supernatural and the mundane is easily the most interest aspect of the tale. Though in fairness the broader story is well written, even if the ending is telegraphed from the start. This is after all both a ghost story and Carter… sorry, Lovecraft, justifying his own style, and his most well known trope. Why would you expect the unnamable to be anything less than that when this whole tale is based on a discussion of his own style with his religiously orthodox friend MoMo. If you can not finally win out an argument in real life, why not have your alter ego at least win the argument in your fiction. Even if it is a win by default…

In the end what is most interesting about the unnamable is the conversation between the protagonists in the graveyard, all that comes after is, well,  just a bit too mundane. So the story only gets three slimy tentacles, just one more than the first Randolph Carter tale. But it is worth a read, all the same, there is something very interesting about Lovecraft’s retrospective on his own work, but perhaps that the writer in me, or something about it that’s just a little… unnamable…

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As an aside…

There is a movie called the Unnamable loosely based on this story, and a sequel to it called unanmeable2: the statement fo Randolph Carter which is almost certainly not based on the story of the same name… It stars no one you have ever heard of and doesn’t get the highest of ratings on IMDB, so its fairly consistent with most Lovecraft inspired movies in that regard …

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I’ve never seen it, so can’t really comment, but it is a 1980’s horror and the plot keywords that IMDB throws out first are breasts, blood splatter, violence and gore. So your average mid-budget 80’s horror then… As I quite like pokey mid-budget 80’s horror I may try and dig it out at some point. How bad could it be…

Actually mid-budget 80’s splatter horror… it’s probably unnameable…

(yer okay, I told the same bad joke twice, what do you want from me?)

Further Lovecraftian witterings 

 

 

Posted in fiction, goodreads, horror, Lovecraft, movies, reads, retro book reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Geekgasm’s in the Nerdverse…

Geek culture has moved ever more mainstream in the last decade or so. The internet has helped. The ongoing wave of Marvel and DC movies and tv shows has fed it. The gamer generation has become the gamer second generation. Scifi shows and Scifi culture has grown along with the ability for special effects. Its no longer ropey bubble wrap sprayed green in Doctor Who, atrociously bad fantasy films like ‘Hawk the Slayer‘ (a firm favourite of mine) or Blake Seven style spaceships on a string. The general public beyond the geek subcultures is more aware and involved. Even a show like ‘The Big Bang Theory’ which was based on the whole premise of a quirk geeky fringe been fun to laugh at has become so much more a show about the mainstream. Yet with all this incredible acceptance of geek culture has come a dark side, a nasty little twist, and one that has started to irritate me rather a lot of late, the negative nerd…

To explain the difference between a Geek and a Nerd, at least in my woeful but personal book of definitions.

  • A Geek, someone who loves a subculture, tv show, sci-fi universe, game series, comic book, novelist, type of knitting…  it doesn’t matter what it is they love, only that they love it, the important thing is because they love it, they want others to love it too, to invite others to join in, immerse and involve. basically, they want to share what they love with as many people as possible, because they think its awesome and want others to have the chance to enjoy that awesome as well…

  • A Nerd, someone who coverts a subculture, tv show, sci-fi universe, game series, comic book, novelist, type of knitting… they covert it, they think they own it, and that it can only exist on their terms. They want to keep it for themselves and not share it with the great unwashed. While they think everyone should recognise its awesomeness, they only believe it can be enjoyed truly by themselves, and want it to be exactly what they want and only what they want, even if they don’t know what that is.

I am a Geek, I try my best to never be a nerd…

The point of this rambling rant, in case you were wondering, is ‘The Last Jedi‘. And if you’re unaware of the release of the eighth film in the ‘Star Wars’ saga, then I am not sure why you would ever be reading this blog post, because even if you don’t like Star Wars, you’ll be aware of the movie release unless you live under a rock. More accurately what inspired this post is the tread of the naysayer, the ranting, angry, and often just plain nasty, nerdverse, which has reared its frankly ugly little head once more.

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I try to avoid spoilers, and if I can any form of review, ever from friends, before I see a movie myself. Which I managed to do with ‘The Last Jedi’ quite successfully for once. So nothing pre-spoiled the movie for me. It was not until after I had finally seen it that I let my filters down and took in what the world, in general, was saying. Though, yes, I was aware that it had a few naysayers out there in the interweb… But what annoyed me, when I let those filters down, was the extent of the claptrap been tooted out by, for want of a better word, morons. Which followed a pattern similar to the kind of old trout talked about ever new Marvel or DC movie, and or any other big franchise.  For example, these genuine banner headlines for posts on various sites…

  • ‘9 things that I hated about ‘The Last Jedi’

  • ‘The Last Jedi has ruined Star Wars because …… ‘

  • ‘What the director did wrong in ‘The Last Jedi’

Combine this with the negative feeling given out by some people on twitter, facebook and other social media sites, and if you have not seen the movie, you might think its awful. More than one ‘friend’ has posted something along those lines. One conversation I  read went like this

“don’t see the new star wars movie, its shite, a waste of money”

“I take it you didn’t like it then”

“I love star wars, 4,5, 6 are epic, but 1,2,3 were awful and  7 is shite, rogue one was woeful and I hated this one…”

Which begs the question of this person,,, why did you go see 8? If you don’t like any of the latest movies, move on with your life. I personally was not a great fan of the prequel trilogy. Guess what, I have only sat my self through ‘attack of the clones’ and ‘revenge of the sith’ once and will probably never do so again. As for ‘Phantom Menace,’ I have seen it too many times. But hey, they did not ruin the original trilogy for me, and while ‘The Force Awakens was not the greatest Star Wars movie ever it was pretty damn good, Rogue One is right up there with Empire and, on the off chance you give a damn about my opinion, ‘the last Jedi’ is an awesome addition to the cannon.

If you hate ‘The Last Jedi’ fair enough, I can not for the life of me see why, but hell everyone is entitled their opinion. But it has not, can not and never could ‘ruin star wars’, and it certainly hasn’t ‘ruined my Star Wars for me‘ because it’s not your Star Wars. You don’t own Star Wars, no one does. Nine movies, umpteen novels, comics, toys, t-shirts video games and a whole sub-culture of geek joy and love is not owned by anyone (except Disney before anyone says so, while missing the point…). Hell, I even agree you have a right to an opinion, god knows I have plenty of opinion on the prequel trilogy, almost as many as I have on Highlander 2 (just don’t get me started on that). And yes you can share it, feel free.

But I have come to loathe the industry of negativity that swarms the internet. Sites Like Movie-Geek queue up to write bad reviews and post ‘Nine things I hated about ‘The Last Jedi’.(who cares).. and ‘everything that is wrong with ‘Wonder Woman’ (nothing at all) and ‘Why Doctor Who becoming a woman is ruining male role models‘(seriously whats wrong with you idiots that you have a problem with this…)  It’s the click-bait equivalent of gold dust. They are also, without fail, written by nerds (see definition above). And the problem is that all this negativity is slowly corroding away at the very things we want to love in the first place.

Take ‘Suicide Squad’, which I will admit was not the greatest movie of all time, but it was far better than the internet hacks gave it credit for. It would have been better still if it had not been recut because of all the negativity that was thrown at the movie before it had even hit the screen… But hell I happened to like it and enjoyed it as a flawed but fun ride through the darker side of the DC universe… the same can be said for Justice League, Batman vs Superman, almost every Marvel movie in the last ten years. You know why? Because I walk into the cinema wanting to love them.

Seriously, I do. I wanted to love ‘The Last Jedi’, just as I wanted to love ‘Rogue One,‘ and wanted to love ‘Justice League’… because I am a geek, and unashamed geek. I would rather love something that has flaws than hate something that was perfect… I want to talk about them with my friends and tell them they were awesome, and why that bit was so damn good, and how I felt when that thing happened or when I first saw that…

I have a love of the dark, I listen to goth music, I like Leonard Cohen, I love ‘The Crow’, and I tend to wear black… But I also love the joyous, the awesome and the wonderful. I love the new and the unexpected. I love being surprised and I love a mystery, and I seldom give a bad review of anything. If you have read any review I have ever written on here, it will probably come across as overwhelmingly positive, and that’s because I don’t give bad reviews. If I don’t like something, I don’t tell people because I may not like it but another will. (This does not apply to Highlander 2, it is utterly dreadful, and all copies should be burned). And because I believe if you tell people something is garbage often enough they will start to believe it before they make up their own minds. Which is why I hate the negativity of the Nerbverse sites and how they infect social media…

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Anyway, all ranting aside, if your a Star Wars fan and have not seen ‘The Last Jedi’ yet, then I urge you to do so, but more importantly go to see it wanting to love it, wanting to embrace it and just go for a ride through a galaxy far far away. That way there is a good chance you will love it like I did, and if not, well you’re wrong, clearly 🙂 but at least watch it with an open heart, we are geeks we are supposed to love this stuff.

And Highlander 2,,, just say no…

 

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