Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Latent Maturity


***LATENT MATURITY***

So…whenever a public figure fucks up beyond belief, it can usually be linked to how old they were at the time it happened. This is especially true when the perpetrator is a teenager and in some cases in their early twenties (not all cases, but some). The younger you are, the more forgivable you are in the eyes of the public. But what about fucking up badly in your later years? Suppose you do something horrible in your late twenties and apologize for it in your thirties or forties? Only then do you not have an easy way out of your predicament.

Whenever a teenager writes horrible fan fiction that accidentally glorifies monstrous behavior, they can be easily forgiven. But if that author was older and allegedly wiser, then the criticisms become harsher. An example of this is Anna Todd, the author of the One Direction romantic fan fiction After. The book got a lot of heat for lionizing abusive relationships, cheating, and overall deplorable behavior. Anna Todd wrote that book’s first draft when she was in her early twenties. Because she should have “known better” at that age, many of the attacks on After were lobbied against her as a person. Is this fair? Does she legitimately not know how the human experience works or is this some part of an evil conspiracy?

As many of you are painfully aware, I have my own experience with writing awful and tone deaf first drafts. Beautiful Monster, anyone? I didn’t figure this out on my own, but the first draft version of Tarja was manipulative as hell and incredibly nosy when it came to being therapeutic to Windham. Yes, you heard that right. Somebody else had to point this out to me. As a bonus to this juicy backstory, I just celebrated my thirty-third birthday when I completed this first draft. As someone with that much life experience, I should have known better than to make Tarja Rikkinen a super-creep. But that’s the thing: I DON’T have a wealth of life experience. I DON’T have a treasure trove of wisdom. In today’s world I’m thirty-four years old and I’m still taking too long to mature.

But when it comes to first drafts, authors should be given as much permission as possible to fuck up badly. First drafts are NEVER perfect when they’re barfed onto the page. Even well-established authors will tell you this. If you see a first draft of a novel and you want to point out mistakes, be forgiving and nonjudgmental. Every author deserves the benefit of the doubt. But the thing with Anna Todd’s book is, from what Book Tubers have said about it, it reads like it never made it past the first draft stage. It has so many typos, so many plot holes, and so many shitty characters. No sane editor would have allowed any of those mistakes to stand. And yet, here we are in 2020 and After not only is a published novel, but a fucking movie. By the way, I’m using the F-bomb as an adjective, but the movie could very well be about the act of fucking.

Here’s my stance on latent maturity. Fucking up badly is not exclusive to any age, whether you’re a teenager, an adult, or shit, let’s extend that to the elder years. My only concern is, did the offender grow as a result of this mistake? Did they change their ways? Did they learn the lessons they were supposed to learn? If the answer to these questions is yes, then that person should be forgiven, provided the crimes committed weren’t overly serious. Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein don’t deserve forgiveness. I rest my case.

So if I really do lack the necessary life experience to make rational decisions about my first draft, then why am I a writer? Isn’t wisdom a requirement for being successful in that industry? It is indeed. In fact, I have just enough wisdom to know that I need help crossing the street from time to time. I certainly don’t want to be offensive when I write first drafts, but it does happen and I need people to point this out to me without holding a blade to my throat.

I used to hate criticism so much that I’d reject all of it no matter how reasonable it was. Now that I’ve gained just a little bit of wisdom, I know that criticism is vital to my success as an author. I can’t have a career without it. Does it hurt sometimes? Absolutely. But does the criticism come from a place of love? Hell yeah it does. That’s something we as creative people owe each other: a place of love, forgiveness, and growth. If we’re being judged all the time for our worst mistakes, we’ll never get anything done. That’s not productive in the least.

Beautiful Monster is hardly the most offensive first draft novel I’ve written. In 2018, I wrote two others named Silent Warrior and Incelbordination, both of which are about school life. Because they are first drafts by their very nature and I don’t trust my wisdom one single bit, there are things going on in both of those novels that I don’t know could be offensive as fuck. Is Scott George from Silent Warrior a creep because of who he’s dating? Am I sending the wrong message by having his girlfriend heal him? Did I also create a bratty protagonist that nobody wants to cheer for?

What about Incelbordination? Is Oswald Crow a whiny bitch? Do I overplay the fact that he has dwarfism? Does he have any real dimension to him other than smoking pot, being short, and listening to heavy metal? Is having him pine for romantic love a sexist trope? It’ll be a while before I’m ready to have those two first drafts critiqued. I’ve got my hands full with Beautiful Monster and Emilio & Marigold. And goddamn, do those stories have some SERIOUS fucking problems!

To cap off what is already a very rambling blog entry, I just want to tell each and every one of my dearly beloveds out there to be kind to each other and don’t judge each other too harshly. Does Anna Todd deserve forgiveness? What about E.L. James? Or Stephanie Meyer? Is being na├»ve really an excuse or is the damage done too overwhelming? These are all reasonable debates that you can have among your friends and audience members. But when you have these debates…please be kind and if necessary, rewind. I’m Garrison Kelly! Until next time, try to enjoy the daylight!


***BEAUTIFUL MONSTER PROGRESS***

I’m certainly taking my sweet time with editing the shit out of my novel. It could be the creative burnout. It could be general tiredness. Or it could be that my slowness has been right all along and that I should take more time to think about how I’m going to fix these longstanding problems. As of this blog entry, I’m getting ready to edit chapter five, where the readers are first introduced to Tarja Rikkinen, the token female mercenary at Shadow Asylum. Or as Commander Rinehart calls her, the “diversity hire”. We know right away that she’s an excellent fighter, but being insanely violent doesn’t necessarily make for a likeable character. She needs something extra. But what will that extra nuance be? Her love for animals? Her penchant for cracking jokes at inappropriate times? Or maybe…Shelly Atwood will invade her thoughts and implore Tarja to…spill her secret! What secret is that? Well, if I told you all, it wouldn’t be a fucking secret! Stay tuned. Or as Lindsey Doe says on You Tube, stay curious!


***QUOTE OF THE DAY***

Love is one of the most intense feelings felt by man; another is hate. Forcing yourself to feel indiscriminate love is very unnatural. If you try to love everyone you only lessen your feelings for those who deserve your love. Repressed hatred can lead to many physical and emotional ailments. By learning to release your hatred towards those who deserve it, you cleanse yourself of these malignant emotions and need not take your pent-up hatred out on your loved ones.”

-Anton LaVey-

Monday, January 20, 2020

Dude Bros


VERSE 1
Dude Bros are pretty, Dude Bros are good
Seems that all they’ve ever wanted was a Monster
Chads are having hot sex, just like they should
Seems that all the Single Pringles need a martyr

CHORUS 1
This is a call to all the pickup tuckers
And cheerleader fuckers
This is a call to all the rap metal bangers
And crystal meth takers

VERSE 2
Kyles are pretty, Kyles are cool
Seems that all they ever wanted was some Death Punch
Karens are like Kyles, but they’re just old school
They say, “Let me speak to your manager” way too much

CHORUS 2
This is a call to all the valor thieves
“Freedom is not free!”
This is a call to all the armchair quarterbacks
“Alternative facts!”

VERSE 3
Kevins are pretty, Kevins are loud
Seems that all they ever wanted was a handgun
Landons are rich kids, Landons are proud
Egos are so big, they think they’ll get a fandom

CHORUS 3
This is a call to all the manly tough guys
Draft dodgers in disguise
This is a call to all the MMA wing nuts
Tapped out to a paper cut
This is a call to all the mansplainers
Whiny complainers
This is a call to all the Dudely Dude Bros
And their bigoted prose

Sunday, January 19, 2020

"The Liberal Redneck Manifesto" by Trae Crowder, Corey Ryan Forrester, and Drew Morgan


BOOK TITLE: The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin’ Dixie Outta the Dark
AUTHORS: Trae Crowder, Corey Ryan Forrester, and Drew Morgan
YEAR: 2016
GENRE: Nonfiction
SUBGENRE: Political Comedy
GRADE: Extra Credit

To an outsider, the American deep south represents everything wrong with the country today whether it’s bigotry, ignorance, or lewd behavior. After reading this book, you’ll find out firsthand that it’s far from the truth. Even I had negative feelings toward the south once upon a time. And then this book came along and gave me a lifelong education worth more than college tuition that no millennial can afford. The problems in the south are nuanced and complex whether it’s poverty, drug addiction, religious zeal, or anything else that rightwing politicians and pundits have purposefully imposed upon it. Nobody wants the south to be in that much trouble, least of all the citizens themselves. For all the negative things I’ve said about that region, I humbly apologize. That’s what this book means to me and that’s part of the reason why I’m giving it a five star review. I always appreciate having my eyes forced wide open…even if the tough love is tougher than a two dollar steak.

Even though this book is categorized as humor, it does have one chapter that almost brought me to tears: Pillbillies. It describes how Purdue Pharmaceuticals aggressively advertised heroin-like pain pills to the south and now addiction has become a national epidemic. The part where Trae Crowder talks passionately about his mother being a pillhead who ruined the family’s life is what hit me the hardest. She would lie, steal, and end up in prison many times before she got clean and sober and even then she was still on thin ice with her son. I used to know somebody who was addicted to drugs and was probably just as dishonest as Trae’s mother. The two of us haven’t spoken to each other for years and that’s how I’d like for it to be. But then Trae has a moment of warmth where he’s more forgiving of addicts because the circumstances that got them addicted were beyond their control. Will I ever forgive my former friend? Only time will tell, but Trae’s story along with his political analysis gave me lots to think about. I like being able to think critically, in case you couldn’t tell.

For all of the dark stuff the south is unfairly stereotyped for, there are times in this book where it feels like a fun place to live. Partying hard to passionate music, shooting guns (responsibly), and best of all, eating the best-tasting food on the planet. Barbecued ribs, salty steak, sweet potato pie, mmm-mmm-mmm! Of course, eating all of that delicious food uncontrollably will lead to diabetes and other health problems, as Trae Crowder will point out with his own experiences as a fat kid. But that’s the redneck way of life: they don’t do anything halfway. They don’t hold back. They don’t live life at anything other than a hundred percent. I’d be lying if I was saying I wasn’t a little bit envious of all of that fun. But then I remember that the south, much like any other place on earth, has its own set of awful problems and trading one life for another isn’t a healthy approach to personal reflection. I’m fine living vicariously through the three authors. With their sense of humor, who wouldn’t want to?

If you learn nothing else from this book, then at least learn to take care of each other and always be kind. That’s what liberalism is supposed to be about, right? Don’t judge strangers too harshly and don’t blame your problems on the wrong people. Be humble, but not so humble that it completely ruins your emotional wellbeing. Thank you, Trae, Drew, and Corey, for all of the tough love and fun times. Reading this book was a welcome experience and I look forward to many more of them. Fun fact: I gave this book to my mom one year for Mother’s Day and she loved it just as much as I did. Like I said earlier, five out of five stars is what this book will get. Congratulations on knocking it out of the park, guys!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Remember


CHORUS 1
Remember that school is not about learning
It’s about how many F’s you’re earning
Remember that college is not about growth
It’s about how much money you’ll owe

VERSE 1
Roger Waters had it right all along
Bricks in the wall written down in a song
Don’t want to grow up to be like my teachers
Especially the ones who could pass for preachers
Raise your hand and ask your stupid question
Everyone’s laughter leaves an acidic essence
The report card reads like a crucifixion
Do you still know that it’s only pulp fiction?

CHORUS 2
Remember that school is not about friendship
It’s about tests and assignments so endless
Remember that college is not about skill
It’s about drowning your sadness in pills

VERSE 2
Nobody thinks to befriend the weird kid
Only the beautiful and clearly fearless
Nobody thinks to break the shyness
Of those who live in shadows and silence

CHORUS 3
Remember that school is not about achievements
It’s about keeping your demons a secret
Remember that college is not about jobs
It’s about telling the bullies to fuck off
Remember that love is truly exclusive
Remember that friendship is elusive
Remember that nothing is meant to last
Except the voices of your broken past

BRIDGE
Wash your clothes and cut your hair
Apply for your job like you actually care
The money and benefits just can’t compare
But you know how this ends and it’s unfair

CHORUS 4
Remember!
Remember!
Remember that your teachers are not your friends
Remember that the students aren’t yours to defend
Remember that the curriculum is useless as fuck
Remember as you hold onto your very last buck
Remember!
Remember!

FINAL LINE
Remember I will always love you…if you give me a chance

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Knives Out


MOVIE TITLE: Knives Out
DIRECTOR: Rian Johnson
YEAR: 2019
GENRE: Murder Mystery
RATING: PG-13 for violence and language
GRADE: Pass

In a family full of rich, spoiled brats who all claim entitlement to Harlan Thromby’s fortune (and are all cut off from his will), who could possibly want him dead the most? Who would want all of that money for themselves so badly that they’re willing to commit revenge murder to get it? Is it book publisher Walt Thromby? Is it social media influencer Joni? Is it alt-right troll boy Jacob? Truth is, everybody in this family is so unlikable that any one of them would make a convincing suspect. Some are more worthy of hate than others and that may lead you, the viewer, to obvious conclusions. You’re tempted by the obvious choice, but know deep down that’s not always the case. This mystery is so nuanced and so complicated that you’ll not only yearn to know who did it, but also how. Any mystery movie that can keep the wheels turning in your mind for as long as possible counts as a great story in my opinion. Knives Out is that great story. That’s what I expected going into the movie theater and that’s what happened.

In a movie genre where lying is paramount, I love the fact that Marta, Harlan’s personal nurse from [insert Latin country here], spills her cookies every time she lies. It could be a clever plot device. It could be a convenient way to keep her honest. Or maybe it’s just a fun little gimmick to make sure the audience knows what side she’s on. Either way, the gimmick doesn’t overstay its welcome and plays an important role in the story so many times that it’s completely necessary. It’s not even a crutch to get out of storytelling plot holes. It’s there because it needs to be. Marta is a kindhearted woman anyways, but even she makes her fair share of enemies in this movie. She’s not a total Mary-Sue in that respect. Plus, she has her own deep dark secret that may or may not influence the detective work going on throughout. The plot will thicken, not unlike the intestinal acid that bursts from Marta’s mouth every time she tells a whopper.

As to be expected with a rogue’s gallery as the main character roster, there will be some bickering among them and there are some genuinely funny moments in their dialogue. The political discussions are incredibly hammy from the basic talking points to the argot used by both the leftwing and rightwing characters. “How’s that SJW degree going, Meg?” says the most obnoxious member of the family Ransom, who’s seen eating a package of cookies at the will reading. Speaking of which, I nearly bust a gut when Walt makes an offhand remark about Harlan leaving Ransom a glass of milk in the will, proceeded by a swear word insult I will not repeat in this review. Even the serious dialogue is entertaining to listen to and at times accidentally comes off as humorous. Bottom line: it’s hard to be bored with a movie like Knives Out whether it’s the dialogue, characters, or overall mystery that you’re intrigued by.

This movie met my expectations the minute I walked through the theater door. No more, no less. I wasn’t expecting to be emotionally tear-jerked by this movie, but then again, Knives Out doesn’t have to do that. It’s just a fun story from beginning to end. It was cleverly crafted, beautifully acted, and not a single detail went to waste. This movie gets four out of five stars a.k.a. the passing grade. Rian Johnson gets a lot of heat for the way he handled his Star Wars movies. I personally don’t have a problem with them, but if Mr. Johnson needed to wash away the muck from his criticism, Knives Out was the movie to do it. Was it considered for an Oscar? I’m not sure, but it should have been.

Friday, January 10, 2020

The Ballad of Sam Corleone


Every other weekend and twice on Sundays
Smashing skulls for a living on Mondays
Looking like bloodshed in khakis and boots
Fuck the spandex trunks, fuck corporate suits
Heavy metal T-shirt around his big old gut
Messy brown hair above a face full of cuts
He stood in the ring crackling his knuckles
Maybe his opponent pussed out and buckled
Then comes R-Truth and the mid-card clowns
Chasing the champ all over the fucking town
All of this comedy for an ugly green strap
Time to put an end to this silly little crap
Grabbing a steel chair from under the ring
Whacking Truth across the back so he could sing
Repeated shots across his nonexistent spine
Crushing ribs into a powder so damn fine
The pin fall was as easy as one, two, three
A new 24/7 Champ on your TV screen
While Truth boy was carried out on a stretcher
The mid-carders ran away forever and ever
New champ took the mike after taking his throne
“My motherfucking name is Sam Corleone
I’ll bring seriousness to this comedy title
Hold onto this strap for a long ass while”
Drake Maverick sneaked up from behind
Threw a chair shot to Sam’s steel spine
The no-sell motel was open for business
Sam turned around to face this idiot
Yanked his ankles, pancaked him on the mat
With one stomp, Drake’s nuts went splat
The poor fucker puked up blood eternally
Carried to the back and to the infirmary
Nobody else dared challenge the king
Even if he was unconscious in the ring
Sam Corleone kept the belt for a year
Instilling in everyone pants-shitting fear
From Strowman to Roman, Dain to Kane
Big Show to Ohno, they all got owned
Then he burned the title in a garbage can
Who’s laughing now? Not a single man
Get used to Sam having main even status
Even if it makes little kids the saddest
“Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!
You’ve got two options: fuck off or fight!”

Monday, January 6, 2020

Tooty-Fruity


VERSE 1
The flowers, the flowers, seductive power
The rose, the rose, the purple prose
The trees, the trees, swinging in the breeze
Tooty-Fruity!

VERSE 2
The sky, the sky, enough to make you cry
The clouds, the clouds, beautiful and proud
The sun, the sun, nature’s cinnamon bun
Tooty-Fruity!

VERSE 3
Roses are red, the classics are dead
Lilacs are white, Pulitzer blight
Violets are blue, elitist culture crew
Tooty-fruity!

BRIDGE
An onion has layers and so does poetry
Peace and quiet is what you’re owing me
I’ll ply my craft in my own fucking way
Heavy metal madness is here to stay

VERSE 4
The love, the love, it’s what you shove
The tears, the tears, the least of my fears
Emotions, emotions, eyes like oceans
Tooty-Fruity!