Controversy

I wrote this short review in 1997. I went into seeing The Crucible with an expectation it must a meaningful film as the book the film was based on dealt meaningfully with a serious subject. Here is this piece, on the anniversary of The Crucible. The film was released on November 27, 1996, twenty-five years ago to the day.

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Changes (Circa 2004)

Photo by NastyaSensei on Pexels.com

One of the things I have noticed in the evangelical church in New Zealand is a willingness to transform the culture with the gospel. But it looked like the ‘others’ were winning the cultural wars.

Kevin Ward said the culture weren’t going along with the evangelicals and their transformative gospel. He said the church needed to adjust to this cultural reality and reach those outside in a more significant way.

Personally, I doubt the gospel is about transforming the culture. I read the gospel in the light of Jesus supporting and helping individuals who then go and live the gospel of love or try to in their daily lives. I think the gospel isn’t about trying to change the world but is lived daily and in being lived daily can do good in the world whether big or small.

But as far as transforming things I take with some suspicion and I treat with alarm those that attempt the aggressive take over in some way shape and form. I think the gospel has never been about cultural transformation but is about being a disciple of Jesus in our lives. But as far as the changing the world, we will continue to wait and see..

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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?

Out of the box

You know, I can’t find the Liquid Acrobat as Regards the Air and that The Marblehead Messenger but what fascinating titles.

– Pete’s quotes (on not finding those albums)

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.

A few troughs

A few troughs in this maritime yarn

The Guardian (2006)

Kevin Costner, Ashton Kutcher, Melissa Sagemiller, Clancy Brown, Neal McDonough

Running time: 2hrs 19min

Reviewed by Peter Veugelaers

The U.S. Coast Guards get a similar ode to those of fire fighters (Ladder 49) and the Los Angeles police (S.W.A.T). The Guardian (M) is dedicated to these rescuers of perilous capsized boats in the deep and high seas.

In the world of these characters, sacrifices are made in the name of commitment to saving lives. It doesn’t whet the audience’s appetite with such notions, it dishes it out over-generously.  

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Edgy family fun

The film, the story, the cultural theme, and my artistic awareness of Open Season (2006).

Family fun but it’s a bit edgy

Open Season (2006)

Voices of Martin Lawrence, Ashton Kutcher, Debra Messing, Gary Sinise

Running time: 1 hr 26min

Open Season is a G-rated computer-animated feature from Hollywood, an edgier family movie than usual, which adds substance to someone’s point that family genre these has become darker (such as the Harry Potter films). But the genre hasn’t fully crossed over.

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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?

A moment with the Oscars

This is one of my early articles, more inclined to be a piece as it is short.

The article is about the Academy Awards. Pretty much I was religiously into the Academy Awards when I was a mid-teenager. The devotion grew less but I kept an eye out for them. In the mid-90’s I got back into the Oscars, without the religiosity that marked my mid-teens, but with a sense of interest in the proceedings. I wasn’t engrossed in them, but took an interest. But it was a strong interest as I was writing film stuff.

So, when the Oscars came around in 1997, I took note because I was writing about film and because I wanted to. I wrote an article that reflected that moment of my pop life. Here was that article, short and I would hope sweet. Nothing eloquent or literary, but quite ordinary, perhaps thoughtful to say the most.

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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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Excellence? Or improvement?

There is such a thing as a church teaching excellence which I found out when I entered a prosperity church. At first, I did not know that it was a prosperity church. I discovered it was less in vein of get rich quick with God, but more about being excellent today.

The early days there came with their upsetting moments. To my surprise, I had not paid a small fee to their Bible college I attended and since I was late in paying they said I had better pay up. (Even so, this from a prosperity church no doubt so they needed the money)

Even though they could have covered expenses like food if I was in hardship (which I was not), they were strong on getting me to pay up for this particular thing, the Bible college classes. After all, they were trying to build a people of excellence, I was told. Not that they knew anything about me. At all.

Being an honest and fair person, I was sure beyond a doubt that they would be paid and this is what I would have done. Just too bad the definition of a person of excellence came within a certain time frame.

I later discovered that excellence hinged on how one behaved as a Christian. There were unwritten rules, generally.

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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.

Conform?

One huge negative compels me to write today. I am sorry because there are positives as well. That one negative is, being expected to measure up to a standard of excellence that is expected of everyone.

There was an ethos to live up to, a vision to achieve. They were “building people of excellence”. An eighty hour work week was the ideal. If people did not like what they seen and heard, to go away. The implication is that we do things our way. A fortress mentality. But, what happens when you inevitably do not measure up, or if you do? And by someone else’s standard. I mean, is this for everyone? And is there guilt at not measuring up? Then, people were asked to submit to the leadership and be “blessed”. This was the final straw. Now, it was becoming controlling, one was being asked to come under obedient submission to the so-called authority. To become prosperous I presume.

But the measure of a church should be the measure shared of Jesus Christ — who loves me not for what else I can do, not for how much work I will do, and not for how many dollars I can make. Prosperity is the impossible standard for many, the domain of the business or company, but they will tell you to think big. For Jesus, the measure of success was not how much the wealthy young man had, but by how much he was willing to follow Jesus. The Christ who does not impose a vision or direction, but asks the question. Where we are free to be ourselves while listening and learning from Christ alone. And one to another share a mutual appreciation and spiritual intimacy because of Jesus in our lives.

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.