Monday, March 25, 2013

Hugh Howey...My New Favorite (Author) Hero

Why? you ask.

Because the man's got his shit together.

Perusing the internet as I'm prone to do at times, I came across a piece he'd written in response to something author Sue Grafton said of the self-publishing movement afoot today.  I'd go into the details of it, but it's better you read it yourself.  He's got a knack for articulating the argument against Ms. Grafton's take on the matter in a manner that I would not detract from here.

Suffice to say, Ms. Grafton's views are of the old guard, those who would choose to remain above the masses as their betters and not do business in a manner they consider beneath them.

Take a look at Mr. Howey's post.  It's called "My Four Favorite Sue Grafton Novels."

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

In honor of the South...

I thought that since I'm currently a "Southerner" if only by virtue of living in the South, I should post something Southerners would a video of NASCAR great Jeff Gordon pranking a car salesman.  Enjoy!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Warbird Radio

Hi, guys.  Just wanted to let you know about a recent interview I did with Warbird Radio for The Missionary Position.  You can find it here.  If you've not heard of it, Warbird Radio is a great place to find interviews with people a lot more interesting than me...pilots and other folks who've contributed to history and some of the people who watch over those historical relics (the airplanes, not the people) and legacies we're still lucky enough to have around...and discussions of planes and places that fill our grade school textbooks.  There's plenty of other great stuff too.

My segment is a little more than halfway through the show (Episode 495).  Listen up!

P.S.: In keeping with the interview, here's a cool video from YouTube.  It's one of the best stop-motion sequences I've ever seen. Enjoy.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Building Blocks of Imagination

There's nothing quite like losing yourself in a good book.  Movies and television can do something similar, but I think they come up short in the "all engrossing" department; that degree of capture that makes you lose your sense of time and place in reality.  I think it's because books force you to engage the stories in them in ways visual media does not.  When you read a book or listen to a story on the radio (or over a campfire, for that matter) you must use your mind to conjure up the images being described.  YOU assign faces and hair colors to the characters as prescribed by the storyteller.  YOU decide how big that "monolithic mountain" is in the story.

I guess what I'm saying is that it is the reader or listener who fills in the gaps and creates the internal visuals that the story takes place in.  The storyteller is the guide, but the story reader or listener is the set designer and director of the movie that is taking place in their own mind.

When you watch a show on the big screen or the boob tube, however, 95% of your mind gets the day off.  You are presented with nearly every facet of the story without having to work for it.  You are given the landscape the director chooses to use as his/her preferred backdrop, and the characters are as they're played by the casted actors.  You as the viewer can neither add nor detract from what's presented.  It requires much less of your brain to process a story in this fashion.  It's kind of a lazy way to get the story and, what is more, we dull our creative muscles by not exercising them collaborating in the creative process.  By virtue of this, our imaginations are dying slow deaths.

Maybe this is why many of the great classics - those stories that have enduring qualities - occurred with greater frequency before movies and television became a mainstay of entertainment.  People's ability to envision, to imagine were greater.  They lived in a day and age when if you wanted a story to entertain yourself with, you either had to listen to it on the radio or read a book to get it.  And before that there were only the oral traditions of storytelling.  People developed their imaginations because they had to if they were to enjoy the full experience of the story.

Technology is great, and it's made for some pretty nifty presentations on the screen.  Stuff that might even seem magical if presented to earlier generations.  But for my money there's still no better way to get a story than by sharing in the creative experience of building that movie in our minds with the help of a good storyteller.