Movie Review: King Arthur and the… Something Something Evil Ghost Rider Skeletor Barbarian

It’s been out for a bit. Guy Ritchie’s foray into fantasy was a spectacle to behold, being full of amazing and awesome and… Pacing issues. And CGI. On Rotten Tomatoes, critic score of 28%; viewer score of 78%. Quite a discrepancy between those numbers. I’ll chuck it up to the growing rift between gatekeeping “experts” and the overwhelming input of Average Joe voter: the masses currently mean more than the “critics” to me, especially when it comes to historically important lit.

First off. I’m a King Arthur purist. In BOOK form. And if anyone knows the legends, the tellings are multiple, complex, and likely not nearly as historical as one would think. You know. Because Merlin was a mage. If you aren’t able to step around the idea of a fantastical retelling of anything historical, when you walk into a theater, you have no place being in a theater. IMHO.

Spoilers ahead. I have a bit to say. Continue reading

A List of Words I Can’t Use in my Writing Class

Regular
Standard
Normal
Common
Traditional
Expected
Minority” as defined “I was among the minority” (as a white man in a class of non-white women)
Soul” as defined “it has soul,” i.e. It has character, depth, spirit. I am the wrong skin color to use this word.
Native American (even though we are referring to tribes that identify themselves as such)
Indian (even though we were referring to one of Indiana’s Native cultures that explicitly identifies as such), but can use Native Indian
Generalized as defined “I feel generalized” – because I can’t.
Marginalized as defined “I feel marginalized” – because I can’t.

I feel trapped and oddly policed. lol As if I’m being shoved into a blanket statement narration of who I am and what I’ve been through in my life. Continue reading

Cultural Appropriation: When the Chicken Doesn’t Hatch from the Egg

I recently wrote a short story for a creative writing class that had a heavy emphasis on feminism, equality, and the removal of appropriative stereotypes (not the story; the class). Throughout this class, I’ve felt more and more dour about my place in it: every day we meet, I am told how I have flouted my power to oppress and dehumanize everyone not me. I am aware of this. I work hard to remove the bias in my life. I work hard to use my privilege for good, if possible. I watch preference given to others who have had to work twice as hard as me to get where they are, and I respect the preference. I don’t know how to write about what I want to write anymore because of all the boundaries and expectations. This gives me a whole new twist on “write what you know.”

But this short story has me confused and bewildered. A long while back, I wrote a story about the most fierce and independent women I had ever met: my ex wife. She was a warrior, a fighter, broken and not, flawed and abusive and everything complex about a person you could possibly want. And exotic. And powerful. Given this class is about the empowering of women, and minorities, and those traditionally without voice, and she’s as untraditional a person I had ever met, I revived it, revised it, reviewed it, revised it again, and handed it in.

If I had problems with the insane amount of, “you can’t write effectively about this because you’re white,” and, “you can’t write about this because you’re male,” restrictions–and then being told I must write it in a social justice vein, where I’m expected to write about an issue I have no business writing about–surely I found a way around it by telling a fairy tale story based strongly on a real life, honest-to-god person.

Not so much. Continue reading

I Tiptoe Around (Some) Empowered Women in Literature and TV

This semester, I’ve been studying American Indian Survivance Discourse. I’ve been studying code-switching and the importance of diversity in voice through minority writing. I’ve been studying transgender literature. Fairy tale literature. LGBQ literature. It’s beautiful.

Most recently, I’ve been studying the poet Adrienne Rich. While all the subjects I put in my head this semester has had an impact on me, to varying degrees, Rich never ceases to explode my thought. Boom. And the kicker is, I studied her seven years ago with similar effect. Her insights are mind-curling, deep and twisting and nearly self-aware. And she made sense, on Thursday, in a way that fit something I’ve been thinking about for a while.

She said that for her to be a truly independent woman writer, she had to stop using men’s sensibilities and styles while writing.

Continue reading

Personal Life Update: Graduation, Grad School, and Humor (but not mine)

img_2180

Cthulhu Flower needs a hug.

I’m going to try and continue writing in this, consistently, until I finish my studies at UIS.

I have four research projects, 10+ pages each. I have been running crazy for over a month. In many ways, time moves so slow. So very slow: only a month? In many other ways, my life passes me by. Thirty three years old. I won’t go down the list my mother has engrained in my head since I was a child. The shadow CV, as Bella calls it. The things I should have done. The things I could have done. The things I didn’t do. Couldn’t, under circumstances. I’m in a place of processing, revisiting old experiences, old lessons in my large book of life.
Continue reading

I Fall to Pieces, Yes (poem)

If I could quote every damn word I’ve read in the past week
All at once. All at once. Where every letter slid into a perfect whatever
I’d tell you about the radiant sun that billows in a conch shell
Wreathed in flowing grape-colored tapestry, violence, wreathed in pain
Bunched up inside my chests; one locked and wooden, one flesh, one
Bone beneath the breast; I’d crush an origami swan right into that conch
To watch it burn white hot.

If I could slide syllable to slotted fucking syllable beside syllable
All lined up. All lined up. Where every sound had a new place around
I’d tell you about sto-len in-can-i-de-scence, and linger on the I
Carv-ing mean-ing to wait-ing, re-mov-ing su-per-flu-i-ties in me,
Leaving carv mean to wait mov flu I in me. No that isn’t what I mean.
Bone beneath the breast I’d crush–not that either, good sentiment.
I fall to pieces, yes.

Teeth Clack Prayer (Poem)

My little soft bullet is tucked between my lip and gum
Sucking the brass off it, sucking the powder out. Unburned

Saltpeter. Young, when first was I reversed, “old soul”
Felt wrong when all I did was spin like a hurricane
Clothes blown, unhinged closet door, two bulbs out and
Black inside discolored like

Charcoal. I found righteous and I stood beside me
Made-up man with his fantasy plan, role models gone,
Fingering the little triggers that blew up the sun, friends,
Now memories line book spines along book shelves
Line incense burners with nag champa, copal, and

Sulfur. I of my family made and carrying this stained glass
On my back keep track of things that break back to breaking;
Crisp morning day, the tip of my tongue a tiny pin, Round
Little Soft Bullet against
Teeth, saliva-wet staining, aimed at my past, I needed

.