Project Updates: Moldy Cheese Marriage

My latest project is about being a writer and the writing process in general, and the bit I’m working on now is concerned with running into problems – that time after the honeymoon, when the excitement isn’t as fresh, and suddenly you can see the problems sticking up out of your brilliant idea like the moldy bits of that cheese that you probably should’ve thrown away a few days ago, but couldn’t stand to toss because cheese is just too delicious to waste, so you’ll probably just cut out the moldy bits because cheese is basically just a good-tasting version of mold anyways, right?

The merits of moldy cheese aside, the point at which you start to see the flaws with what originally seemed the perfection of concept is a defining moment in the writing process, because it’s too easy to just abandon projects at this point and move on to the next big brilliant idea, which of course is just a terrible downward spiral of incomplete works. For something to actually outlast the post-honeymoon period takes an idea that is actually solid and a lot of teeth-gritting dedication to push something onwards and make it work. The relationship/marriage metaphor is startlingly appropriate. But I could still make the cheese work too.

I had been planning to explore this issue at this point of the story arc, but ironically, the project itself has also hit that point. To put it succinctly: Life imitates art.

But never fear. The teeth-gritting has begun. Trying to figure out some of the issues with the project  occasionally feels like running full-speed into a wall head-first, repeatedly, hoping that this time will be the time that wall shatters, but when it finally does it will be a glorious epiphany and all that excitement that I was bubbling with last week will be fresh, and I’ll fall in love all over again.

Also, I’m American, I put cheese on everything, so there will be no cheese disposal, particularly when the mold isn’t that widespread and really only on the surface. That shit’s still good.

I’d better end this update now, before my mixed metaphors mate and make millions of terrible, confusing cheesy marriages.


Extraordinary, Beautiful, Simple, and Intricately Patterned

I will either love Baz Luhrmann’s take on The Great Gatsby or I will hate it with a deep and burning murderous passion.

Just so we’re clear on the stakes, this is the Great American Novel we’re talking about.

By the way, I can be kind of an lit/English nerd.

Yesterday, the trailer debuted. There’s been snippets and mentions of this movie coming up every now and then, but I hadn’t given it much consideration since it’s yet another remake of a classic book that has already been made into a somewhat successful film. I’m not a huge Leo fan, and don’t follow Baz Luhrmann’s work with any particular attention. If there’s one thing this trailer did, it was pique my (and probably a lot of other people’s) interest. If you haven’t seen it yet, take a gander:

It’s hardly a surprise that Baz Luhrmann would use Kanye West/Jay-Z song for a movie about the 1920s, and although I’m initially extremely annoyed, since I enjoyed Moulin Rouge, I’m willing to have a little faith (though the point of the whole Great American Novel thing is that it captures the spirit of the nation at the time… then again, it’s the novel that’s Great and American, not necessarily the film). I’m not one of those people that wants film adaptations to match the source material page for page, and am a firm believer in the fact that trying to follow the plot and structure of a book precisely often leads to terrible movies. But what I do want from adaptations is the spirit of the book to remain intact.

In a letter to his editor, F. Scott Fitzgerald describes the kind of project he wanted to start working on next, which eventually became The Great Gatsby.

“I want to write something new – something extraordinary and beautiful and simple + intricately patterned.”

And that’s the beauty of that book. The way that it is at once simple and intricately patterned make it beautiful. I’m going to avoid the long diatribe I could launch into, about the materialism and decadence motifs, because no one wants to hear the essay that all high schoolers these days have to write. Suffice it to say, all the complexity of it is masked by the simple premise of a love story.

While Baz Luhrmann has proven he can do love stories, I’m not so sure he can do simple. As a matter of fact, Luhrmann is really all about the antithesis of simplicity, his movies are nothing if not spectacle. Still, we can’t just ignore the whole decadence motif, and it’s entirely possible that Luhrmann’s penchant for spectacle will marry nicely with the wild partying that’s all over that story.

So, like I said, I could end up cherishing Luhrmann and his team for bringing one of my favorite books to life. Or I could end up hating him for defiling one of the greats of the American canon.

Project Updates: Impetus

I’ve started  a new project, in a new medium, with a not-so-new (though still delightful) partner. Since it’s still in the development stages, it’s the new shiny toy, and I get really excited about working on it all the time. Which is good, because I’m making progress on it, but bad because I’ve kind of ignored all other projects. But I’ve got impetus now, and that can’t be ignored. So onwards with the shiny toy!

This project started with a branding meeting. As an enterprising young creative, I was meeting with a design-minded friend about business cards and a general image that I’d like to put out on the interwebs, and as we were discussing more interesting ways of saying that I try to string words together prettily, we found the word ‘inkslinger.’ It was too cool of a word to ignore, and I had the idea that there should really be a comic about a character called inkslinger. While I’ve mastered the delicate art of stick-figures, that’s really all I can do, and xkcd sort of cornered the market on the whole stick-figure thing. But magically, my design-minded friend was looking for an excuse to draw more. And thus a new enterprise was born.

In my mind, this project started out as real fluff, just fun little bits here and there, but the truth is that that probably would not have worked so well for me, being that writing is more my forte and drawing really is NOT (except for the stick figures of course). Luckily, it sort of organically grew into its own niche and expanded outwards into a much grander and better idea. It’s the kind of project that when I get home from a meeting about it, I’m bubbling with excitement and ideas, and sit down to immediately start scribbling things and pinning up questions that keep opening up onto my corkboard. In the last meeting, I asked about whether or not one of our characters should be called something other than what we call him, and that directly lead to a existential debate as it relates to our little webcomic.

There are projects that are just fun and exciting, and there are projects that are engaging. And those are wonderful.

How Novelly Derivative Got Its Groove Back

Oh yes, Novelly Derivative has groove.

I think it took me a while to get back into a comfortable headspace. I had to find a rhythm and style to life again. After being gone for five months, and dealing with life-changing events, coming back to an apartment I had only lived in for all but a week and having to start a new job in a new area was maybe more complicated to adjust to than I had supposed. I didn’t realize it; I never felt like I was out of place or anything like that, but now that I’m in a really good place, I’m recognizing that I was maybe a little out of sorts before.

But now I’ve got a plan. And a rhythm. And yes even groove.

Novelly Derivative itself has a new manifesto (only in my head, possibly scribbled on one of my many notepads – that is, don’t expect to see an actual manifesto) and will eventually be moving content to another domain, but that’s down the road a ways. For now, it’s gotten a fresh coat of paint and will be slightly more structured and hopefully focused. And, for those of you who’ve been following, undoubtedly awaiting a new post on the edge of your seats with anticipation, thanks for sticking around.

Catch ya on the flipside…