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Life Stories May 31, 2010

Posted by Realitybypass in Uncategorized.
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I have a short commute to work every morning.  It’s generally a pleasant time of day and I can jam to the radio or call my mother for a check in on my folks and the family gossip (no, my family isn’t interesting enough to have really juicy gossip, but I get to find out which child drew on which computer screen or barfed).  Last week though I had one of those mornings which isn’t so calm.

On my way down the road I watched a car bump into a bicyclist.  It wasn’t a hard bump.  Between two cars it would have been nothing, likely not even a dinged fender, but bicyclists don’t have the benefit of a ton of steel protecting them and she went over in an acrobatic roll that could only mean bad things.  Over the years I’ve certified for CPR, First Aid, First response and other such things so my reaction was to stop and get over there to see if help was needed.  Fortunately this was a lucky case.  Strained shoulder and a bump on the knee mixed with a case of shattered nerves for both the bicyclist and the teen aged driver.  It could have been so much worse.

A very different story for that morning, an instant of something very different in what is usually a routine schedule.  That’s where the best stories lie and are the things that live on for the telling.  The years, months, weeks, days and moments which step out and shake us up.  I was glad to be there…I had something to offer that they needed and they gave me a moment.



Friday Flashback: Read Poetry May 28, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Uncategorized.

Repost from April 25, 2008

I’m planning to get my PHD in Spanish poetry, which always stirs stares of shock, dismay and horror from listeners. Poetry is generally described as “emo depressed people” scribbling down angst in esoteric metaphors that don’t really make sense. Or, I regularly hear the complaint, “The author really didn’t mean all that we read into the poem” or, “Poetry is just so… flowery and unreal. No one really feels like that.” Or my favorite, “I just don’t like poetry.”

¡Au contraire, mes amies! Some of our most oft-quoted phrases come directly from the world’s poets. And frankly, if you like music… you like poetry. I think some of the ‘fear’ of poetry comes from the stereotyped idea that understanding the art is best left for the literature einsteins of the world, or that it’s for those weird artsy freaks and not for the normal person. Only “smart people” get poetry, I’ve heard. That’s such a shame. There’s so much of our daily lives that can be found in poetry, it just takes letting go of the fear you won’t understand and realizing that there isn’t a correct answer to what poetry means. The only answer is “What does it mean to you?”

Here are some of my favorite lines from poems, and I’d love to hear any more y’all can come up with. There’s so many, I just had to pick a few!:

  • Tyger! Tyger! burning bright, in the forests of the night, what immortal hand or eye. could frame thy fearful symmetry (William Blake)
  • Do not go gentle into that good night, old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. (Dylan Thomas)
  • Their’s not to make reply, Their’s not to reason why, Their’s but to do and die: Into the valley of Death, Rode the six hundred. (Tennyson)
  • A cry of defiance, and not of fear, A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door, And a word that shall echo for evermore! For, borne on the night-wind of the Past, Through all our history, to the last, In the hour of darkness and peril and need, The people will waken and listen to hear, The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed, And the midnight message of Paul Revere. (Longfellow)
  • Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky, With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high! Blood-red were his spurs i’ the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat, When they shot him down on the highway, Down like a dog on the highway, And he lay in his blood on the highway, with a bunch of lace at his throat. (Noyes)
  • Que es mi barco mi tesoro, que es mi dios la libertad,  mi ley, la fuerza y el viento, mi única patria, la mar (Song of the Pirate, Espronceda). (And so my boat is my treasure, my only god liberty, my law, my strength is the wind, and my only allegience the sea)
  • Oh pequeño emperador sin orbe, conquistador sin patria, mínimo tigre de salón, nupcial sultán del cielo  (Neruda, Ode to the cat) (Oh tiny emperor without kingdom, minimal tiger of the parlor, sensual sultan of heaven…)
  • La princesa está triste.. Qué tendrá la princesa? Los suspiros se escapan de su boca de fresa, que ha perdido la risa, que ha perdido el color. La princesa está pálida en su silla de oro; (Dario) (The princess is sad, why is she sad? Her sighs escape from her young lips that have lost their laughter, have lost their color. The princess is pale, sitting on her golden throne)
  • Caronte, yo seré un escándolo en tu barco. Mientras las otras sombras recen, giman, o lloren… yo iré como una alondra cantando por el río (Ibarbourou, Rebel) (Charon, I’d be a scandal on your boat. While the other shades plead, moan or cry, I would go singing like a dove along your river).

Friday Flashback: Ghosts of Literary Past May 21, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Friday Flashback.
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Repost from March 4, 2008:

Ghosts of Literary Past

           Today I was paging through my ‘writing’ thumb drive looking for blog inspiration. While doing so I ran into some of my former writing attempts, from a rejected Star Trek script pitch to short stories that won prizes in high school and finally to my first attempt at original fiction. 

            My first novel was called “The Atlantis Project”. Inspired by a fascination with Sea Quest and Star Trek, I embarked on my own science fiction adventure. I think the idea of an underwater colony and an Earth that has had to colonize the ocean’s floor is probably still a good idea, but my goodness did I love /adverbs/! (And very thinly disguised Federation of Planets plagiarism! Ah the foibles of our teenage fanfiction…) I never realized just how superflous adverbs are until I waded through my own bulky prose filled with ’strongly growling’ and ‘timidly mumbling’ heroes and heroines!

            The book, all 300 pages of it, wasn’t very good. However, it’s nice to see it’s also not terrible. I’m thinking the idea of world-governments battling for fertile ocean soil probably has a lot of potential, re-written from a fresh and more mature perspective. It’s nice to look at the ghosts of your literary past and see that the seeds of good writing are there, and also it’s nice to see how you’ve grown. So maybe the battle for the earth’s last fertile soil will one day make it back into print, minus about 10000 adverbs.


Iron Man 2 Review May 18, 2010

Posted by Realitybypass in Movies.
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The last few weeks have been velly busy, so I missed the opening weekend for this flick, but managed to get out with the dear hubby last night.

My first impression would be that it was a fun film.  The visual effects and kabooms and fights were pretty much what I expected.  Fun, fierce and abundant.  There were some moments where the shaky cam high in the sky view made it hard to tell exactly WHAT was happening save for much butt kicking, mostly for goodness.  Generally though, it worked.  The nods to the fans come a little thick, but that’s kinda to be expected.

For me the plotting also worked, though there were places I would have liked to see a tighter edit.  Tony Stark continues to be what my husband refers to as the ADHD super hero.  It’s always about bigger, faster, shiny object of the moment, whether he’s looking for cars or new secretaries or something to hit.  This has a certain charm, but sometimes he makes me tired and I find him hard to believe.  This becomes a problem in the moments where we’re really supposed to buy into his character’s relationships with others.  Does he really love Pepper?  Is he really reconciled with the memory of his dad?  It’s hard to tell because he’s so flippant about everything.  I want to believe him, but there is always some hint of doubt.

The villains of the film worked for me and I was glad to see them tied together and then to Stark in a way that made sense.  Everyone had reasons for what they were doing, even if the responses were a bit over the top.  Can you really be a good superhero villain if you aren’t over the top?  At points Ivan was a little hard to understand, but in the not understanding I’m not sure I missed much.

Now to my biggest complaint about the movie…  Every woman in the film served the same purpose.  Eye candy.  None of the female characters were well developed or convincingly played.  I kept waiting for a moment where one of them would really connect and be powerful, but it didn’t happen.  Pepper got to gripe and fret.  Natalie got to look sexay and one combat sequence which was ruined by the distort effect which was applied to show how fast and scary she was.  Outside of the stereotype neither of them had depth or character or something which set them apart and it plagued the other characters as well.  On a surface level they all did the job they were there for, but I wanted the sense of more.

I know it’s a superhero movie.  I know there are tropes of the genre, but where is the depth?  Yes, I had fun.  No, I don’t regret going, but at the end of the day would I want to see it again or own the movie?  Meh.

“I am Iron Man.”


2am posting… May 9, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Inspiration, Life, Musings, Writing Craft.
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The writing process is always an interesting journey. I very diligently sat down under the light of the sun in order to work on my term papers, the final one due on Tuesday. I told myself I would finish them, and leave the evening for goofing off and more importantly, the night time for sleeping. But for some reason… I keep getting jolted out of bed at 12 midnight to do my best writing. I agonized over 5 pages all day, and just breezed through the edits of those first five and an additional 6 in the last 2 hours. I’m going to be exhausted at church tommorow I’m sure, but all I want to do is keep working on it now that I’ve gotten into that writing groove.

This is why I tell people my muse is a big blue tiger, similar to Hobbes (only blue), that hits me with strange ideas when I should be sleeping. Are there any other midnight to 3 am writers out there?