Reviewer’s lot

In terms of art, you will see my pure and simple likes and dislikes in the category “like or don’t like”. The other ones that don’t fall into that category are pretty much, ‘I may not have liked it, but I see good points and negatives’. This I think pretty much sums up the reviewer’s lot. They judge and assess a lot, but don’t like a lot. They like a few. Doesn’t that reflect us all?

After

There’s nothing like a siesta on a Friday. It refreshes the brain with inspiration. At least that was in my case. I hope it is in yours when you have your siesta.

Friday is the end of the week. Everything slows down on Friday or in some place winds up, at least siestas still happen in some parts of a Covid world.

After my siesta I was thinking about film reviewing of course. Film reviewing is one my of my constant preoccupations. It’s always on my mind, but not quite, almost the case.

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Get real

The question I ask myself is why don’t I do just one version of a review and leave it at that. The thing is that I may dislike a film but see its worth in themes. The traditional way of dealing with this from a Christian perspective is to praise the themes and forget that you disliked the thing. But I don’t forget. I didn’t like the thing! I wouldn’t buy it. Really! But, since I am conscious of the God thing as well, I want to bring something of that out, too, such as in a theme.

The solution was simple: Don’t downplay the so-called God thing in some work I dislike, turn the ‘God-thing’ over in another format of writing.

Therefore: spirit of life category should provide the thematic stuff in movies and music only and related themes. Although some of my earlier film and music writings that are now posted in the spirit of life category do contain some reviewy elements. This reviewy stuff might have been a critique of a theme. My entertainment review category on this blog should provide straight reviews only.

Update: This information in regards to the structure of the blog is no longer relevant. But in terms of reviews I am keeping to subjective reviews in the music category and more or less in the film category.

Name change

I mentioned in an earlier post that I would be posting more literary material, and that I have been doing, with straight reviews, reflections, and poetry. Unrelated to that I was inspired to change the name of this blog. I thought it was a good idea because it would reflect the more literary stuff I am publishing than before, so thought to re-christen it The Write Mix, which means the mix of writings I am presenting here.

At the office, he says…

I thought to explain some modifications on this blog, so here it goes. Longer reviews I have posted the last couple of months have been shifted to the ‘spirited’ category rather then keeping in the pop life category. These longer reviews are more in line with the ‘spirited’ category, anyhow. These reviews explore ideas and themes more than straight reviews and explore how the ‘spirit’ or ‘life’ of the movie or music got to me. I have more of these kind to post. But the entertainment reviews, which are shorter, are more about if I like something or not. Like I was in process of deciding to buy it or not. These reviews are more straightforward. So, these entertainment reviews are ones like I posted yesterday–the capsule reviews in other words. More coming up. Note: Spirited category has been transferred to the spirit of life category since this post. Update: The structuring as described here is no longer relevant.

Listen

Reviewers tend to gush at certain things and scold, but I wonder if they are truly being objective as they offer their verdict with sweeping words of praise or hatred. Reviewers are objective are they not as they quality their criticism with passages of writing that explore the work and then are sounding fair and unbiased. Most of them know something about their art, do they not, but after all is said, are they still coming down without the objective eye? Would coming down objectively be a denial of their person?

Well, I realize in my approaches to listening to music that I have three ways: I can reject it, I can be open to it without being into it, and I can be just into it. Hence I introduce a new theme on this blog, which tells you briefly, in a few words or more where necessary, where I stand on an album or piece of music. Rejected, open to, or into.

Just the facts

I have been reading. Websites. And I see there is a dearth of facts. Sure, there is plenty of warble. But I want facts because I want to know. I want to learn something about the latest news or whatever it is clearly and simply. Not have to wade through tons of words to try and find the facts but I don’t find them even then. It is like finding a needle in a haystack. I know of resources in print that can take me to the facts easier.

This dearth of facts on the world wide web prompts me to change myself. Become more factual and clear. The dearth of facts makes me want to change my style of written communication, where appropriate.

Maybe this blog should start something off: a fact driven site. As well as keep writing the articles that need something more, where appropriate.

Communication style can be driven by what we have learnt at home and that can be challenging: ever listened to a family member express themselves? How would a child pick that up?

Unfinished business

Sometimes work is ignored, sometimes work is picked up, but is any of it ever fulfilled? It is the same with the writing side of life. I am attempting to tackle something that I hope the outcome will feel fulfilling but without knowing if it really will. What can you learn from this? I don’t know, can you learn anything from anyone? Maybe it is simply, apply yourself, and just do it.

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More

I’ve been thinking…and there should be more writing and literature on this blog, in the future, than general writing and life talk although I will probably still include that. I would like to see more poetry and reflections and reviews of books, movies and music.

In the zone?

Is writing getting into the groove or getting into the zone? We are told writing is a discipline, so wouldn’t getting into the groove and in the zone just be a discipline one applies? But writing in the groove and in the zone is not only disciple and inspiration. It is not only a regular routine. Writing in the groove or in the zone is a state of mind.

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Nothing sloppy

I’ve pretty much written for the lower grade newspapers, magazines and websites all my life but I always had a good attitude and was quite pleased I was getting published. Low-grades have a reputation of being inferior at least to my mind. The standard required is lower, but what I found was a sense of getting things done and genuine interestedness in what was being produced. Even publications with lower expectations have a good work ethic. There was no sloppiness. I did get published occasionally in the higher grade newspapers and magazines but mostly in the tried and true.

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On the way

This blog was formerly called “Words on the Way” and this still stands at least in essence. The blog is now called “various writings by pete”, but this blog is always about still writing whatever the time and just keeping on writing to, not so much a destination, but the next stop or visit on the journey, be that a new publisher or going independent. Writing is a journey. Updated since this post.

Found

I found my story idea at the bottom of a pile of notes and was glad to receive it and surprised how short it was when I imagined something far longer. No need to dig into my memory.

Lost?

What happened when I lost or misplaced an idea. Panic followed by a realization that I have got to recall it from memory. But also an interceding calm that it will be all right. Yet tampered with the thought, it won’t be the same idea. Ending with the thought, just try again. It’s still in the Mind’s eye. It’s there. Reach out. Go deep. Find it again.

Done

Getting things done is one of the things that bothers me — because of time I might not get the job done — but to get the job done also keeps me inspired — because I know I can get it done.

– Pete’s quotes

True

A writer has an approach to their work. For me, this is being conducive to my readers. I think this is what every writer wants. To sound conducive and not banging on about something. This is how I approached reviewing films. To sound conducive. Films were not my flavor of the month though But I started writing with something I knew about, as in the 1980’s, before the year 1990, I was an avid moviegoer and knew them all pretty well. In 1990, my views of movies changed.

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Now

Starting on a new exercise book of reflections from the gospel of John. Reading John is eye opening as new thoughts emerge thus far. Also printed out several files from a story project that had its genesis in 2002. Hope to recover these in some way shape and form. Printing the writings out helps me organize my thoughts around the emerging story. A random, fitting quote from the Bible has helped to focus the narrative.

Neat freak

Sometimes I wonder if I am a neat freak, but I do not give that thought much time, because I don’t care. I am thorough about things and want things done properly and I applied this last week to finishing off a project. I am glad I have got it out the way as I can relax now that it’s done.

Yet for all my thoroughness, and the frustration this can bring, I am now up to date. Being up to date was my reason for finishing this part of the project off, so I can smooth on into the other stuff in the project without a worry. Now, I am free, when it is done and dusted and the rest is just sailing.

Genesis

Twenty-five years ago to the year. “I want to have a chat,” said the publisher. “It’s the reviews. They are too straight. You said you were going to bring a Christian perspective. Well?”

Is there something about Christian that is not straight?

Did I get something wrong? Should I have done Christian somehow different? Out of the box? Surprising you with grandeur? Enlightening, perhaps?

Perhaps you wanted the moon but only got dust.

As for my project, the so-called Christian perspective on film, the genesis of a Christian perspective was already there. It just needed plying out. But I am afraid it wouldn’t have been good enough for you. You wanted the moon, but you might have only seen dust.

See if you can spot the genesis of a Christian perspective in these reviews I wrote for them. Its genesis is in the themes I mention and I expected they would have seen the Christian perspective there. Looked like I needed to do some plying out.

Reflective again

I’ve been working on a book of reflections based on my readings of the Gospel of Mark. The gospel is from the Bible and I am aware of being accurate to the text and not saying something myself in my writings that was not intended by the writer of the gospel. But I am writing reflections and this genre is not explaining or expounding a text academically as one would when deeply examining what the author was saying. Reflections are simply hopefully effectively relaying my thoughts about what I read…meaning it is not a thesis on the text or a critique but a reflection on the text itself. I reflect from a devotional basis so it is not a reflective critique which has a soft edge.

I don’t know if one can do reflections from any kind of text, but I think copyright issues are the barrier to a writer taking any printed text and writing a book of reflections on it, although I don’t know. I know that there is a whole genre of devotional writing that uses the Bible but does not copy it. I know I am not doing anything wrong in using the Bible as a basis for a book of reflections, unless everyone who was writing devotions from the Bible has got it wrong. It is only wrong if copying the Bible exactly as it is for a profit, without permission; and copying it even without wanting to make a profit or commercial gain.

Copying 1000 Bible verses as they are written is okay with some Bible publishers, without seeking permission. It just depends on each Bible publication policy which is at the front of each Bible. Always check copyright notices at the front of each book you may want to copy in some way. There it will explain what one can legally do or not do with that particular book. And get a grasp of copyright law. Books are legally well protected from people trying to illegally copy them, but the copyright notice at the front of the book will inform of any leniencies, if any, and what you can do if you want to use a portion of the book in some capacity.

So far, my reflections have taken up one small exercise book, which I completed this week. For the rest of the week in terms of reflective writing, I just felt to blob, as if I have done enough for a little while in that genre or until I get my reflective writing mojo back.

An often told story

Does 100 sales sound like, worth publishing an e-book? In my experience, no. That leaves the traditional publishers to publish it for me leaving the answer with the gatekeeper behind the editor’s desk.

I may get an editor like the gatekeeper from Ghostbusters, with an other worldly persona and is only pretending to be polite. I am not alone. The rounds in and out of the editor’s room, looking to sell a book, is a story that every writer tells…

The conclusion to the story to that the answers to this get published quagmire lie in the editor’s hands, who may be looking for answers himself, more personal and philosophical answers, as long as they are satisfying, in the deepest recesses of a living room in Manhattan. Who may even find the answer in my book as he pours over it on the couch.

The thing now is: What will he do with my book?

(Even though he has found the meaning to life.)

Belief

There are things in life more important than writing, although the fact I am writing this shows that writing still serves a purpose to express the more important things in life than writing. Like marketing, distribution, and sales. But the fact that I have this week considered putting my reflections in an e-book to sell and then rejected doing so says something that’s true about “there’s more to life than writing”. It is in the experience of the writer that prompts further action to try and sell a work which won’t work because of the writer’s past experience. It’s also following the logic of one’s future actions — the seeing of the cons, while skeptical of the pros — that causes the flat out refusal of going forward with a project. Maybe that is filtered by experience. In any case, the answer seems plainly obvious at the end. Although one is never committed to it. Because one does not want to believe it’s true.

Useful

I’ve been thinking. Of what use is a writer? When you reach a certain age, you look for a job or embark on a career and writing seems everywhere. When I look at this writing world, there are needs for newsletter writers, technical writers, and so on. A few will make money from creative writing and maybe even a living, be that screenwriting, novel writing and short short story writing, as well as poetry. Of what use is a writer? It seems what is missing now is the motive, the purpose, the over riding theme of why one wants to write. When I knew my reason for being it seemed to choose the genre. When the genre was “chosen” (or more likely drawn into), of what use is a writer when are just a few publishing possibilities in that genre? What if one got in?

Think tank

Am thinking is my favorite hashtag. Because when I am thinking I am thinking about how I can move forward, improve, or make something such as my writing better. A think tank can be my before writing process. Actual writing follows thinking or at other times a healthy dose of inspiration. This week I have been thinking. Thinking about what’s next to write. The devotion? Or the project? Or the devotional project? How will I write it? Would it work? We’ll see.

What’s in a blog?

Another blog, another day, another dollar for some, My labor of love in writing the last few days has been thinking, reflecting, soul searching, praying and came up with the best idea possible for me in terms of film blogging. Having written reviews for years, I’m putting them up in chronological order, starting with Ill Postino, written in 1996, as well as bring the new ones. There is also a summary of my reviewing journey there as well to the present time. Here’s the link to the review: I trust the about page will explain my thinking behind it. Update: I did not follow through on this idea for the blog but I am in the throes of appropriating something like it, which will probably turn up in the film category somehow.

Own skin

How should a writer write? This is a question that’s perturbed me when it’s come to writing fiction, because you are supposed to write in a literary manner, which means to sound the literary way. Be that literature or fiction, there’s a way of sounding right. In literature, even use elevated language, sophisticated prose, and put on the charm. In fiction, you got to sound like you are writing a blockbuster, chunky and punchy. To get published, you got to sound published. But this week I have been comfortable in my own skin as a creative writer and it’s not about trying to sound literary and tweak an expression a certain literary way.

Motive and desire

Rejection is one of the themes of a writer’s life I suppose, although I haven’t talked to every writer, I suppose there are the exceptions. Is there a 100 per-cent acceptance rate, anybody?

A rejection occurs when someone submits their story, poem, article, etc, to a publisher, by post, email, or through an online portal, and days, weeks, or months later, the response is a rejection of the work. In the last week, I have had such a response, dare I admit. It does not hurt as much as it used to—when I was submitting to the literary journals.

I was a little surprised to be honest. I thought my devotion, for a church publication, should have been chosen. Should I keep on trying? After several rejections from the same publisher? And I have had TWO, a big two acceptances, from this publisher, which should be incentive enough.  

For me, it has come down to motive and desire.

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