Archive for the ‘Artsy’ Category

Behrman wept.

His whole life had been a sketch up until now. As he considered his visage in his bathroom mirror he traced the lines of his past in his face. Everything he had known had been a rudimentary pencil drawing—his birth, childhood, growth, experiences, heartaches, his art. All of it. It was all foolishness. Poppycock. A poor man’s dream of meaning. What had he lived for? Here it was. Now. Right in front of him. Behrman’s tears cut ages out of his cheeks, slit mediocrity from his pores, and a few drops that fell upon the old man’s lips tasted at once of a life-in-progress and a masterpiece. It was all the old man could do to stop from exploding right there on his linoleum. His heart was the entire world. The beat beat beating of his genius rang in his ears, eyes, throat, lungs. Behrman, 65 and alone could feel the weight of the universe on his shoulders and he welcomed it with a smile and a cry. “This is what I was born for,” he said to his reflection, and his reflection understood.

It was … too beautiful. It was … too perfect. He hoped to God he could pull it off.

When the end of his last day came, he did not know it as such. But Behrman did watch the sun disappear, as he did most nights, from the old, stone wall in front of his building. It wasn’t the best view of mother nature’s brilliance the world had to offer, but it was his and he had always held a deep, quiet, respect for that. When the sky turned from that bright, pristine white to that passionate fire-orange he gasped, every time. And then, faster than a brush stroke, all light faded away and Behrman was immersed in nighttime. There on his stone wall, the old artist sat, twilight after twilight, wondering how he would better the world, grasping at impossible ideas, coming up empty every single time. The most terrible thing in the world is for a creative soul to sit stagnantly waiting… waiting for his purpose to show itself. Being imprisoned behind a wall of doubt, shadows, and decadence has been treacherous for him. But tonight… on this night, everything would change.

The first star appeared and Behrman made his wish. The cold wind frazzled his gray beard and a chill ran up and down his spine. The old artist pulled his scarf tight around his neck. Tighter. Tighter still. The plaid wool choked him ever so slightly and he welcomed it. The tighter he pulled, the more he felt his life loosening away. The more he felt his life loosening away, the more he understood.

“Ah,” he said to the moon. “Tonight iz, I think, a good night for art.”

From above him, several trees shook their branches and dropped a thousand leaves at his feet. This was the end of autumn. This was the end of Behrman. He scooted his wiry, old self off of the wall and looked up. There was still a light on in Sue and Johnsy’s apartment. The old artist removed his pocket watch. It was not quite midnight.

Behrman’s bones ached. But then, Behrman’s bones had always ached. There had never been a moment the old man had lived where his creative soul had not tried desperately to appease his aching bones. And now he believed he had had it. Now, Behrman believed, was his time.

Across from Sue and Johnsy’s lit window, there was a wall.
Climbing up this wall, there was an ivy vine.
On this ivy vine, there were once leaves.
Just before the sun set on this autumn evening, the last ivy leaf had fallen.
Behrman’s ladder he propped against this wall.
Behrman’s ladder he climbed.
And as he painted, this dear man suffered.
And as he suffered, this dear man painted.
Art could care less who makes it.

Life is the ultimate masterpiece.


For O. Henry.


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It was all so simple then. A boy meets a girl. He falls in love. She unrequites. He believes all is lost and will never love again. He meets another girl. He forgets completely about the first. He falls in love. Everything is hunky dory. Except boy and girl’s parents don’t like each other very much. Oh drama! So they go to a friar. They are married. All’s well that ends well! No wait. The boy kills her cousin. That wasn’t smart. Excommunicated! Be gone, boy! Nooooo! I cannot live without her! Noooooo! I cannot live without him! I will die! But it will be phony bologny death. Post haste, my live corpse will travel to my love! This plan is foolproof! Oh sweet fake death, bring me to my love! It works. She dies. But not. The boy hears. But not the part about the not. Noooooo! I cannot live without her! He runs to her body. All is lost. She is dead (although secretly not). Boy takes some of his own death medicine. Buh bye boy. Girl wakes up. Finds boy dead. Nooooooo! I cannot live without him! She kisses her plum pilgrims to his for any last remnants of poison. Nope, no death upon his still warm lips. That blows. But wait! A happy dagger! Girl plunges steel into her own heart. Dude, that’s messed up and all must now go to the punish shed.



Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. William Shakespeare!!

Holy crap, I didn’t know he would be here tonight?

Me neither! I thought he was in the Caribbean?

Guess not! Look, that’s him! Hooray! Author Author!

And with that, the play is truly over as women swoon and throw panties and men chase The Bard down with promises of good-will pints and rugby tickets.

But that was then. And this, my friends … is now. Ready for the Boo Yah?

BOO YAH!!!!!!

Check this craziness out!!   http://www.suchtweetsorrow.com (URL doesn’t work when I link it. Please copy/paste.)  Mudlark and the Royal Shakespeare theater proudly present Such Tweet Sorrow. For the next 5 weeks, the characters of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, will be tweeting, uploading videos, and performing their lives out in the open for all to see. The plot so far is casual. This is an updated version and takes place in modern day. It takes place RIGHT NOW, in fact. There are still 2 families that hate each other. But Juliet‘s mum is dead and her nurse is not her nurse but her older sister who she nicknamed “nurse” when she was younger because she was always taking care of her after her mum died. So she’s still the nurse character, per se. Got it?

It’s a little difficult to get into immediately but it’s growing on me. Mercutio seems to be Mercutio times 100. I like it. No sign of fair Romeo yet. Unless I missed it.

But yeehaw! Dig on this for awhile in-between your own sorrow for not thinking of this great idea first! I wish I had!

Today’s writing assignment: Be William Shakespeare.

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LOST is on tonight. Did you know this? Had you heard? Just in case you haven’t, I thought I would fill you in. It’s a show about these characters. It’s pretty cool. They’re on an island. And the island talks. I know, right? It’s nutty! Who ever heard of a talking island before? I know I haven’t! Up until this show came on 5 years ago.

For those of you who haven’t seen this television program, let me fill you in on some basics.

1) In the pilot episode, a bunch of people parachute out of a burning blimp. Some died when they hit the shores but that’s just because it was Normandy and a lot of burning blimp refugees died on the shores of Normandy. It was sad. Even for the burning blimp refugees that survived their parachute. They were sad. Because their friends had died. So to cure their sadness, they walked around the island of Normandy for about 600 days or so. But it was really about 30. After that first month or decade, the island started talking to them. End Season 1.

2) In Season Two, a man named John Locke was invented by a man named Pete Townsend. They shook hands and opened up a door that unlocked a strange new world. In that world there was a man named Desmond Monkey Hands who had to keep pushing a button because if he didn’t, there would be no universal health care. It was pretty scary. He had to push the universal health care button every 600 minutes or so. But it was really about 30. Oh, and there was also this other character who was a Care Bear. His name was Hurley Bear. He came down from the mountains wearing some clothes. That’s where Season Two Ended.

3) In Season Three, all hell broke lose! No joke! It started right where Season Two left off with Hurley Bear all up in his clothes and talking to Desmond about the pot monster. Did I tell you about the pot monster? He was like this pot smoke that just floated around the island getting everybody high and like, doing things to them. It was really scary stuff. I don’t know how to explain it really. Oh yes I do. It’s like when you accidentally drop your Koosh ball in the sink or the pool or the ocean. That’s what happened to Jack. Jack is another character on the show. He dropped his Koosh Ball in the ocean in the pilot episode when he parachuted from the burning blimp. He was very sad. Not just because his Koosh ball was all wet and it would take at least a day for it to dry but also because his dad died. The rest of Season Three was pretty much just nonsense.

4) In Season Four, Claire had a baby and everyone else was safe at home. Yeah, they got off the island. It was righteous. It meant something. They got to eat things like Bubba Burgers with ketchup. They were all very happy about that because back on the talking island, all they had to eat was Bubba Burgers and mustard. But there was only a little bit of mustard to go around and by Season Four ALL THE MUSTARD WAS GONE!! So they were all happy about life back at home. But they still felt sorry for leaving Claire and her baby on the island with no mustard. So they went back. They had to go back. Jack said so.

5) Season Five was awesome. They went back to the talking island and Jack and Kate had lots of sexy time and pineapples. Kate was Jack’s doberman pincher in a sideways universe but he never knew that because the character who played Kate was Gweneth Paltrow and she was too busy missing her train. So instead, they all decided that it would be fun to roll on up for a magical mystery tour and take a yellow submarine back to 1977. When they got there, there was this farmer and his name was Sayid. Sayid told them that Cobra was the best Nintendo game EVER! And everyone pretty much agreed except for this tall glass of water named Sawyer who thought it was really Bubble Bobble. Sawyer was a homosexual but everyone respected him. Especially this guy named Miles who could talk to Bruce Willis.

And now you’re pretty much caught up! Oh, but LOST is in it’s final season now and there’s only like 8 episodes left before the series finale. So what’s happened so far this season is that we FINALLY found out that Claire’s baby is actually Rosemary’s baby. And Woody Allen is suing for custody. Stay tuned!!

LOST airs tonight at 9:00pm EST on ABC.

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Having just seen Tim Burton’s latest film, Alice in Wonderland, I can say that my preconceived notions were pretty much right on. I was hoping, nay, daring to believe that it would be something spectacular but in my heart of hearts, I knew I would be disappointed. And I was. I don’t get it. I just don’t get it. The story was so bad. They were trying to do something new but keep the old. Maybe that works for some stories but I just don’t think you should go around messing with Carroll’s classic. Or maybe, if you do, you should get better writers on the project.

There were some moments in the movie where I felt like I was in Wonderland and I felt that joy again of being an imaginative child. But those moments were few and far between. The thing about Wonderland (about any literary fantasy world) is that you need to be ensconced in it. It’s not a successful story without your complete immersement. In other words, you have to fall down the hole. In Burton’s film, you just don’t. The actress playing Alice is a bore. That in and of itself would be fine because Alice always was the least interesting part of her own fantasy. She had a few good lines but those were direct from Carroll himself. She still sometimes believes six impossible things before breakfast. And that is good. We should all strive to do the same. But as she goes from one impossible scenario to the next, she keeps insisting she is dreaming. If that is the case then enjoy it! Do something remarkable! I suppose that in the end, she does, but throughout the rest of the movie she seems very content being a non-person. At least the original Alice was bothered by everything. At least she reacted to the impossibilities of this crazy world. At least she had feelings. Even if you hated her, you wanted her to come out the other end in better shape than she went in. With this Alice… forget it. I felt nothing for her. Not even hate.

I don’t mean to be so scathing. I’m trying to be objective. Johnny Depp’s portrayal of the Mad Hatter was decent. At times, it seemed unnecessary, but again, I blame the writers for that. That’s Hollywood saying, “We need a big actor for this movie! What’s that? We can get Johnny Depp? Holy shit! How many scenes does the Hatter have? Just one?? RE-WRITE!!” Fine. I get all that. By all means, give Johnny more scenes. He certainly deserves them. But could you give him better lines? I wish I could even remember an example for you but it was so forgettable that I cannot.

Here’s the major problem with this movie. Are you listening, Mr. Burton? If you’re going to re-work a classic such as Alice in Wonderland, you absolutely have to approach it with the word “epic” on your mind at all times. Your film was anything but epic. It was just shy of 2 hours and there was just too much story to tell in that time. It could have been so much better. Maybe you bit off more than you could chew. I don’t know. Maybe you were concerned with the 3D aspect? But even the 3D wasn’t that great. It was definitely no Avatar in that department. Sorry. You’ve probably heard that a lot already. OK, the 3D was fine, really. It was just peachy. But everything was so dark and ominous. The entire movie was more like Alice in Wasteland than Wonderland. I understand that that is your style. Kinda. As dark as Edward Scissorhands was, at least it had some colors here and there. Everything tonight was just…. so… lackluster.

That’s the only word I can think of that describes this experience—lackluster. But maybe I’m jaded. That’s probably likely. I’m becoming an old coot and I’m turning into one of those dudes who tells young whippersnappers that they don’t know how good it was. They wouldn’t know entertainment if it came up and bit ’em on their tuckus! What with their crazy iPods and Ataris and Facebooks and George Foreman ovens and whatnot. Go read a book, son! Calloo Cally! There’s a frabjous day! And when you’re done with that, check out a real film. This is how it’s done…

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I am not quite certain what this blog is turning out to be but I do know what it will not be: a daily log of my life. However, when I do have anything to say about writing or literature or anything vaguely related, it will come here. It is with this caveat that I step out into night to walk to my local movie house to watch Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland in 3D. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Spoiler alert: Alice is one of my favorite novels so I do have high hopes.

Review forthcoming…

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