And though it hurts to say goodbye

You may have noticed that I have been gone the last few weeks. My father fell ill. And of course between hospital visits and tending to my mother this blog was not a priority. And last week, he took a turn for the worse and passed away. This was unexpected, even with his illness, a nasty auto-immune disorder, we were told to expect 3-5 years, and the day he passed, they were getting ready to release him. In short, it was a shock.

As you can imagine, I have been reeling. Being close to your parents is a double-edged sword.  I had 28 years of an amazing relationship but in its absence the void is staggering.

I was reminded at his visitation, but several of his friends that of all the things he loved about me, most, perhaps was my artistic drive. As one said, “don’t stop writing…” and even my father is his last months told me I was the artist he always wanted to be.  So after a week and a half of sitting around crying and mopping, I’m going to do what I do best, carry on and increase my drive to get my art out there in memory of my father with of course a good mingling of crying and mopping in between.

And because I think this is appropriate:

Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

-Mary Elizabeth Frye
Love ya daddy.

Storytelling lessons learned from the (failed) HIMYM final

I was one of those who fell into watching How I Met Your Mother; namely, I had Netflix and time on my hands. It wasn’t amazing but it was OK…..

In the end, I would call myself a semi-devoted fan, I liked it. I liked the characters, the story was ok, and by the end I just wanted to meet the mother…..

And like most fans, I found the final to be a slap in the face, and came away thinking, why did I waste my time watching this series, for this final. Not only was I disappointed but I was angry…….

Image

I understand that this is the writer’s stories and as such they can do what they want, however; there were several mistakes which were made (which we as storytellers can learn from) :

1.Pacing matters: First, the final season’s pacing was way too slow. It was bloated. Instead of advancing the plot, the story turned to self-congratulatory and self-absorbed flashbacks.  But, within that, the writers of HIMYM spent a year of the viewer’s life focused on Barney and Robin’s wedding. What does this do? It focuses the viewer’s attention on the couple as well as created an investment of time and emotion in the development of the couple. Then, they promptly dissolved the couple within the first 15 minutes of the show. Oh you can argue well that’s life…but that comes to our second point:

2. Genre conventions: Sitcoms (or comedies) like most genres come with a certain set of expectations and conventions. You can break those conventions but you better have a good reason for doing this or face the readers/viewers wrath. The HIMYM final failed to have any real reason explained for this slide into drama.

3. Character Development: HIMYM spent nine years developing characters. Again it spent the better part of the year giving Ted the balls to walk away from the dysfunctional and cold Robin, and Barney the insight to heal his awful self-esteem and view of women, to again within the lesser part of the hour, have the characters slide back to their old way, for no real reason or purpose.

“Barney and Robin had issues because she worked a lot, so hey who cares that he spent the better part of two years trying to be a “decent” person, let’s just make him a slut puppy again because it’s funny!”

4. Reader’s (Viewer’s) Expectations: The title says it alone. This is a story of “How I Met Your Mother,” and the better part of nine seasons were spent building up this epic romance of Ted and his wife. Episode after episode allude to it. To then what, introduce her for one season, again building it for their meeting: One hour. One hour in which she promptly dies. And then the worst part:

5. Negating the entire point of the series: The final turned what was suppose to be a cute story about true love, into a pitch to Ted’s teen children on why he should date their “aunt” Robin, who Ted has apparently been pinning after, maybe all along. Instead of celebrating his love of their mother, she is relegated to a place filler that Ted might have been happy with, all while probably still harboring a flame for Robin. To make this worse, Robin spends half of the final lamenting how she should have married Ted (probably because within their dysfunctional relationship, she could do no wrong) while Ted is with the mother.

In short, the final rewrote the meaning of the series. This wasn’t a story about hapless in love Ted growing up and finding adult true love, rather it was about the inability of Ted to ever move on from a doomed and one-sided relationship with an egomaniac. Ted kinda comes off as a creep and a loser. And there dysfunctional relationship can now envelope to innocent teens…….

Awesome.

Childhood innocence revised

I came upon a hilarious yet on retrospective slightly depressing Buzzfeed article entitled “16 classic children’s books retold for adults. It’s hilarious to see how the view portrayed as children changes as we enter adulthood just sort of sad to see how jaded as adults many people become. So laugh! Enjoy! And if you find yourself relating to this, go out and reconnect with your childhood self :)

Two of my favorites are below: :)

ohtheplacesyoullgorainbowfish

Looking to collaborate with a like-minded guy or girl who can draw…….

As I wrap up my short collection of plays, (hopefully) available online at the end of the week, I turn to other projects.  I have two projects may require (if I go the indy route) an artist to illustrate.

The firstImage and one I’m most looking for an artist for, is a comic, Without getting into too much detail, it’s a modern day fairy tale starring Nikola Telsa which deals with issues of corruption and power. This one I’m pretty set on being indy, though I’m open to other suggestions

The second is a children’s story. I will be shopping this around with traditional publishers, but if the right artist came along, I would be open to e-publishing or making a book app.

If anyone is interested you can email me at reestanf@gmail.com I can give you more details there.

BTW, I’ve been told I’m pretty awesome to work with :)

When your give birth to your literary babies

Poetry may be dead, but poets aren’t!

I woke up on Monday with two bittersweet emails. Two of my poems had been accepted for publication in Cool Etc! a few new online journal. One of which was a baby of  mine, Loaded Gun, Twice Fired. I wrote this poem about 8 years ago (wow I’m getting old) for a class in poetry. The assignment was to finish the Emily Dickinson poem, My life has stood a loaded gun. I ended up with a poem that I loved that stood a lone or in tandem to the original piece. But after I got out of college, I had a heck of a time trying to publish it, because it was “too traditionally.” I refused to give up, and now, my baby shall see the light of day. It’s an odd feeling though, to be done with a piece I tweaked and changed some many times throughout the year, but greatly satisfying. Image
In addition, my poem, The river bed, was also published! This wasn’t a baby of mine, rather a poem I wrote while spending a day walking along the Mackinaw river.

It’s pleasures like this that make a rainy Wednesday much more enjoyable. I hope you liked my work.

Why poetry is dead

….because you sucked all the fun out of it poets and magazine editors in your pretentious quest to make poetry some higher more grand form of art…..

poetrydead

I was reminded of the fact that so many poets (and many artists in general) are pretentious, stuck-up and just rude to new writers. A “friend”of mine a few weeks ago had a status mocking someone that she had rejected for the online journal she started. The sheer joy that she took in mocking another individual was outrageous, especially the other artist friends of hers that joined in.

And I grew angry.

What right did she have to mock another writer? Is she any more qualified to say what is good art and what is bad than anyone else? So what, she paid a few bucks to throw up a website. Anyone could do that. She had a few poems published. Oh well, most writers do at some point right, especially if you are friends with the editors.

And I was reminded of all of the horrible experiences that I have had over the years: the journals who couldn’t even send me a form letter of response, the instructors and other artist who I met that shamed my publications for not being in “good” magazines but then when published in the same or similar journals acted like they were God’s gift to poetry, the professors who told me good poetry can’t rhyme, the journals that said they would accept my work if I paid for their editing services first, the critique sessions I went through where people just tore into each other instead of saying anything productive……

And I was reminded how I hate this part of the art world.

So, as a some-what successful artist, I’d like to say, just stop.

Art is beautiful. Even crappy art. It’s beautiful because someone took the time to make it. And while it may not be amazing, there is always something you can take from it and room to improve.

And art is practice. Most people don’t start off amazing. Give support. Give advice.

Stop making art this grad excessive mountain to summit and focus of the beautiful journey it is.

 Also stay tune, this rouge artist just had two more poems accepted for publication…..but I’m sure my artist friends would not be fond of the journal ( :) )

Writers wanting a free ride

Ok, I won’t lie. This is an amazing idea. Amtrack is offering free residency for one of their long rides. It’s a program which on a rolling basis which accepts promising new writers! The form is quick and easy to fill out (yes I might be filling it out right now! ) so why not give it a try! Maybe you can be the next great traveling writer. :)

* Note, as in the comments, it’s been noted that what you submit can be (though may not be) used by Amtrak. I always suggest writing pieces specifically for contests. In short, don’t give a piece that you are supper attached to/don’t want them using. :)

train

The periodic table of storytelling

I’ve run across one of the neatest sites/resources for story telling, the periodic table of storytelling. It’s an interactive periodic table with all sort of great information for people who want to know the art of story-telling. Warning though, this website is super addictive, and you can spend all day on it!

Enjoy.

periodictableofstorytelling

http://designthroughstorytelling.net/periodic/

Dr Seuss to the rescue

In honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, I’ve come across a fun little collection of life sayings (from his books) to live by.

I know I’ve posted similar things in the past, but everytime, I come across one of his books or a collection of his work, I am amazed at how insightful he was. And I am amazed at how complicated adults must make things.

Note: sorry this is a few days late. I thought I published this piece but apparently word press had other plans.

Dr Seuss to the rescue