Monday, July 27, 2015

Of Color

© by Gerald So | | 2:00 P.M.

To call someone a "person of color" is currently a socially acceptable way to say "non-white". I bristle too much to use it because, like cruder terms, it's a superficial classification by color. I don't use the term "white", either. Instead, I get to know people on deeper levels such as personality and life experience. It has made all the difference.

At The Five-Two: "Predator and Prey" by Joseph D'Agnese

© by Gerald So | | 5:30 A.M.

This week, a petty thief has a change of heart after a trip to the zoo:

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Cracking Wise

© by Gerald So | | 5:15 A.M.

This morning, I commented on Detectives Beyond Borders about wisecracking in hardboiled fiction, mentioning Robert B. Parker and Gregory Mcdonald.

Are Your Characters You?

© by Gerald So | | 5:00 A.M.

This week's question at 7 Criminal Minds delved into the relationship between writer and character. If writers write what they know, for example, do they have a lot in common with their characters? I commented on Meredith Cole's Monday post.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Specter of Ian Fleming

© by Gerald So | | 11:00 A.M.

The first full trailer for Eon's twenty-fourth James Bond movie, Spectre, was released yesterday:

I don't put much stock in trailers, especially for movies I already know I'm going to see. That said, I'm less enthused about Spectre than most Bond fans, mainly because it continues an arc that has run through all of Daniel Craig's Bond movies.

At first, I was intrigued that Quantum of Solace would pick up right where Casino Royale left off, but that continuity didn't drive Quantum very far. I found Craig's second movie oddly artsy, I daresay dull.

Skyfall didn't pick up directly from Quantum. Its plot was exciting, but as Bond came back from a very close brush with death, he seemed older, as if he'd lost a step. I forgot Skyfall was only Craig's third Bond film, and he was signed for two more.

I thought Casino Royale would start a string of younger, grittier adventures the franchise needed to refresh itself. Craig's movies haven't turned out that way, and with Spectre closely linked to Skyfall, Bond will be toting that baggage.

A big draw of Spectre is the return of archenemy Ernst Stavro Blofeld to the franchise. I, too, was excited to hear the trailer's musical nod to On Her Majesty's Secret Service. With a few hours to think about it, though, I don't want new movies to nod too plainly to old movies. I want the writers to come up with new plots for Bond. To me, that's only real way to keep Bond relevant to 2015.

I hear you saying, "Bond was created by Fleming. Part of his charm is his 1950s attitude." Yes, but Fleming's books don't have to be relevant to today. Movies made and set today do.

Monday, July 20, 2015

At The Five-Two: Peter M. Gordon

© by Gerald So | | 12:15 A.M.

This week, Peter Gordon takes us "Off the Grid":

Twitter followers and I have picked six Five-Two poems of Sundress Publications' 2015 Best of the Net consideration.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Go Set, Ready?

© by Gerald So | | 11:00 A.M.

The Jungle Red Writers today broach the "new" Harper Lee novel, Go Set a Watchman. I commented with an analogy you may like.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Staying Tuned

© by Gerald So | | 8:45 A.M.

I got a postcard from the Academy of American Poets a few weeks ago about two readings at the New York Public Library's Margaret Liebman Berger Forum this summer. The first was Tuesday, July 14, with January Gill O'Neil, Ross Gay, and Meena Alexander, and I invited my friend Five-Two alum Elizabeth Lash.

I became interested in attending after reading Ross Gay's "For Some Slight I Can't Quite Recall", which struck me as similar in sensibility to what I publish at The Five-Two. I also read January Gill O'Neil's "How to Love".

O'Neil read from her 2014 book Misery Islands, dedicated to her children, Alex and Ella, who were in the audience briefly before setting off to explore the library. I particularly enjoyed some poems into which January snuck her name, and another with a reference to David Ortiz (though I am a Yankee fan).

Ross Gay invited South Indian-Filipina poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil for a surprise tandem read of poems based on correspondence about their gardens. He also read the moving "Spoon", about his murdered friend, Don Belton.

Unfortunately, Elizabeth's work meeting ran late, and she only caught the end of Meena Alexander's final poem, but after the reading I recommended Misery Islands to her. We bought copies and met January, who signed them. Yesterday, Elizabeth wrote to say I'd made a good recommendation, calling January "a fantastic writer".

The nitty-gritty of writing is sitting alone in thought, scribbling or typing up what insists it can coherently be expressed to someone else. Readings both reassure writers they are communicating well and suggest how they might communicate better. I look forward to the next one, August 11.

Monday, July 13, 2015

At The Five-Two: "My Summer Vacation"

© by Gerald So | | 5:30 A.M.

This week, The Five-Two welcomes Vera Salter, who offers a poem inspired by the accidental shooting of a firearms instructor by a nine-year-old girl.

I'm tallying Twitter Favorites to help choose three of the six poems I send for Sundress Publications' 2015 Best of the Net anthology consideration. Get your Favorites in by tomorrow, July 14.