New Year, New Resolutions (New Promises to Break)

I’m not sure why the start of the year (or, I suppose, the end of the year, depending on how you look at it) is a time for resolutions, other than it’s an easy marker to know when you last make promises you (probably) knew you weren’t going to keep. I mean, I could make a resolution to write more in July, but something about January just makes it easier to remember something you’re going to forget.

I wrote forty-nine posts in 2018 (including this one), which is up from the twenty-nine in 2017, although in fairness I wasn’t working on fantasy at all during that year (instead focusing on completing my YA novel, 22 Scars). Still off from the goal of at least one a week, but better than I’ve been for a while.

The thing is, this blog isn’t just about fantasy. I mean, yes – it’s under my fantasy pen name, Satis, but it’s also where I built my first following, got two articles posted on the WordPress front page, and set up the idea of Thoughts of the Week, Movie Nights, and many other short-lived topics. This blog was meant to be a place to express myself, a safe place to talk about mental illness, and all the things I think about.

But I think it’s time to focus and tighten up, and that means separating what I write, where I write it, and why I write it. I now have three blogs I write for regularly: satiswrites.com, cmnorthauthor.com, and thebipolarwriter.blog (the first two are mine; the third I guest write for). My plans for the next year include writing a second YA novel, probably before focusing on the fourth book in The Redemption of Erâth series, and so I imagine that I’ll have a lot to say over at cmnorthauthor.com. I also want to contribute to thebipolarwriter.blog more frequently (at least once or twice a month).

That doesn’t mean I want to leave satiswrites.com to languish, however. Even if I don’t have many fantasy contributions for the next twelve months, I still intend to post here for my Thought of the Week, Movie Night, Music I Love, and other random bits and pieces. So here’s the plan:

There might even be room for crossposting, but we’ll see how things go. I want to write more this year, but I don’t want to promise things I realistically know I can’t deliver on.

So consider this the first post of 2019 – and let there be many more to come!

Working on My Signature

My son came to me the other day (he’s fourteen), and asked for a signed copy of The Redemption of Erâth. The interesting part is that it isn’t for him, or even for a friend – it’s for a friend’s friend.

One of his best friends is a huge fan of fantasy, including Harry Potter and others, and for her birthday one year we gave her a copy of the first Redemption of Erâth book, Consolation. Apparently she liked it, because she wants to give a signed copy to one of her friends for Christmas.

It’s kind of neat.

I know perfectly well I’m not famous, well-known, or even known at all; fewer than a hundred people have bought my book, and probably fewer still have actually read it (so many people buy things they don’t read). But when someone recognizes you for your efforts, however small the recognition, it feels good.

I was in my local coffee shop the other day as I often am, and as I’m waiting in line the owner offhandedly comments that I’m on the ‘wall of fame’. I wasn’t sure what he meant until he pointed to the door, where, lo and behold, my picture is on the wall, amongst half a dozen others! I’ve done exactly one book signing there with about three people in attendance, but they still felt it was enough to recognize me on the wall of the shop.

That felt great.

I was in the local paper the other month for that book signing; a reporter happened to be picking up his own coffee the day I was there, and sat down to ask me a few questions. The book signing and article are about my young adult book, 22 Scars, but in some ways that’s even better, because that’s my ‘serious’ work.

The point is, it’s interesting to consider who might know you, and what they might think. Once your work is out there, you can’t take it back – people know you and your writing, even if it’s only a very few people. And to think that those people enjoyed my work enough to want to share it with others – whether via a gift, or by recognizing me on a wall – is a feeling that hits deep. It really feels meaningful, because of course that’s why I started writing in the first place – to touch people’s lives.

So who knows – maybe one day I’ll be signing books all over the place! More likely not, but still – time to work on my signature!

Movie Night: The Lobster

Year: 2015
Genre: Black Comedy … ?
Cast: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Jessica Barden

In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.

There is very little lobster in The Lobster. In fact, I don’t think there was one at all.

This film carries with it the dubious accolade of being one of the most bizarre movies I’ve watched in recent years. I read the above description before watching it, and I’m not sure whether I should or shouldn’t have; it certainly helps explain a lot of the exposition, but there’s a sense of utterly nonsensical mystery that stems from not knowing the premise from the outset.

The Lobster bears many of the hallmarks of an indie film trying its best to not fit into any particular genre; billed as a black comedy, there were moments I laughed perhaps only because I thought it was meant to be funny, and not because it actually was. In fact, there were more scenes I found outright disturbing than I found funny. It’s interesting, as these are some of the same comments aimed at my alter-ego young adult novel, 22 Scars – that it tries almost too hard to be edgy, at the expense of plot and character clarity.

For example, very few characters are named, and only when necessary; even Rachel Weisz is known only as the short-sighted woman. Another key character is referred to throughout the film as the heartless woman. There are no place names – only The Hotel and The City – and even when these settings are abandoned for the wild woods, there is very little reference to anything grounded in reality.

In fact, the very premise – that single adults are transformed into animals if they fail to find a partner in 45 days – becomes something of a MacGuffin to the themes of love and lust. The point of the movie – if there even is one – is tenuously that love can’t be forced, but can be found in the strangest of places. To this end, it hardly matters that the threat hanging over the characters’ heads is transfiguration – it could have been death or exile, for all it matters – but rather that there simply be some impetus for the characters to connect with each other in a context where they have very little other reason to.

In the end, there are enough bizarre moments to elicit a kind of disbelieving guffaw – in some ways, a funnier film than Crazy Rich Asians, which we had watched earlier in the day – but they are overshadowed by the wide brushstrokes of disturbing insanity, including a woman jumping from a window and breaking her neck but not dying, and a frankly cringe-inducing final scene. I would hardly label The Lobster as a comedy – black or otherwise – but perhaps closer to an essay on love; a kind of parable for a society that praises social relationships for their appearance rather than their substance.

Either way, The Lobster is a film that I would recommend only to those who have the nerve to stomach some truly troubling material, and despite that recommendation, hardly one I would watch again any time soon. As one of my friends put it, there were multiple moments throughout where I asked myself why I was still watching it at all.

4/10 would watch again.