Just a quick post this morning. I’ve had too little sleep and not enough coffee for the brain to function well. Besides, if I were to do a “full” blog, it would fall into politics quickly this morning and would probably be laced with more than its fair share of profanity. A sleep deprived Amanda is not a good thing to mix with political stupidity. Instead, I’ll give you a few links to interesting info I found this morning.
This first is an easy one. I grew up going to the movies at least a couple times a month. Once I was old enough to go with friends or on my own, I expanded the genres I watched. One genre was always a little lacking: Westerns. My dad really didn’t like them and, while Mom didn’t object to them, she had other genres she preferred. So I really didn’t get into Westerns until I was an adult. So when I came across this list of AFI’s 10 Best Westerns of All Times, I had to go take a look.
To my surprise, I’ve seen all the movies on the list and a couple of them are actually some of my favorite movies. Some, however, surprised me. While I admit Cat Ballou is a fun movie, finding it sitting as high as #10 surprised me. The inclusion of McCabe & Mrs. Miller also surprised me. The exclusion of movies like Silverado and the remake of True Grit (the Jeff Bridges version) surprised me as well. But, when I usually have seen few if any of the movies on a Top 10 list, this was a pleasant surprise. It also reminded me that it might be time to rewatch a couple of them.
The next two links reminded me why I tend to follow Jane Friedman’s blog. I don’t always agree with a post, but they almost always make me think.
The first, Boost Your Book Launch, is something every author should read. It’s not comprehensive by any means, but it is a good checklist and reminder of a number of things that can go wrong if you aren’t careful. Honestly, it’s something I need to spend a few minutes with and make sure I have everything listed on my pre-publication checklist. Go take a look.
The second link asks a simple question: do you really have writer’s block or is it something else? The questions the post’s author asks herself made me realize part of my problem with one of my current problems. Some of the solutions/answers surprised me. But they also reminded me how I sometimes have to change the way or location where I work to jumpstart the creative juices. There are times when sitting at the keyboard actually stops the words. But give me a pen and paper and here they come. The same with moving from my office to another part of the house or even to the local coffee shop. As for the blog post, realizing that you’re actually writing something you didn’t realize helps to. That means the novel you think you’re writing might be a novella or the short story might actually be the first chapter of a novel. In other words, sometimes you just have to get out of your own way and let the muse guide you.
I finished my first mug of coffee, so it’s time to brew a second mug. Then I need to wake up enough to get to work. I’ll try to be back later with a more cohesive post about something. ;-p
I think the original “True Grit” with John Wayne, Glen Campbell. and Kim Darby is better than the remake.
Apparently McCabe & Mrs. Miller is considered a prime example of an anti-western.
But I think that relies on the definition of Western that Truby uses: essentially as being about doomed super cowboys using their powers to allow civilization to advance against barbarism. Truby then follows the argument that transcending the genre leads to showing that the civilization coming afterwards will both erase the cowboy and be corrupt.
At this point, I think that is a mis-reading of the genre and what makes it compelling. I would argue instead that the heart of the Western as a genre is “What form does a right and good life take for someone with an intrinsically violent nature?”
I will agree with him that the weakness of many Westerns is that the protagonist rarely changes. But I disagree that the solution is to show their efforts were ultimately futile. Rather I’d argue to make the greater Western one would show the transformation of a character from an uncontrolled or improperly controlled violent nature into a rightly controlled and directed violent nature. That is the story that burns.
Sorry, disengaging rant mode. I feel like Westerns got shorted in the 60’s/70’s because they were the heroic mode when Hollywood decided heroes were bad.