Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Richard Adams: In Memoriam

I'm so crushed. The author of my favorite book, Watership Down, passed away on Christmas Eve 2016. The news was finally released today. Richard George Adams was 96 years old when he passed on. Watership Down remains my favorite story of all time and I can't believe that the genius behind it is gone.
To celebrate Adams' life and to remember him, I've created a video of his works and inspirational quotes.
And, just as I said in the Project: Sherlock video, I do not own the music or images used in this video. All rights go to their respectful owners. 

R.I.P. Richard Adams.....

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Or "happy Chanukah,"if you don't celebrate Christmas like I do.

So, it's 12 a.m. where I am and I'd promised myself I'd do some sort of Christmas post. I'm on a family trip right now and brought a book in case I have trouble sleeping tonight, and I'll have an update on that eventually, but this post is just a holiday-related post.
It's officially Christmas Day where I live and, I suppose due to the supposed loss of innocence as one grows older, I have to confess that I feel like this day has lost the magic it used to have when I was a child. I suppose I shouldn't bellyache too much, I still love this holiday and I know I'm very lucky to have wonderful friends and family to celebrate it with, but.... I don't know. It's just not the same anymore.
Why is it that, as one grows older, life goes much faster?
Why is it that Christmas does not feel as magical as it used to?
Why is it that I want to look at life through the eyes of a child, but society forces me to grow up?
I'm sorry. I'm tired and I'm ruminating on these things. How my mind races at midnight sometimes! I feel like I can never sleep the night before Christmas, especially. My mind is a gem, but it's a curse, too.
Not sleeping in my own bed doesn't help matters.
But this is a holiday post, so enough about me. I thought I'd share a piece I wrote about two years ago:


I cannot weep, yet I can weep tears of gold. I can watch the stars kiss one another in a cheerful dance amid the nightly heavens as you stand beside me and I want to do something, but the music is too beautiful to allow me to move, let alone hold a hand. You, on the other hand, are brave, as a silver glow sneaks up my way and you give me the gift of the silent night. I blink and it is still night. But it is Christmas Eve. I fall to the earth and allow my golden tears to fall as you fall beside me and your tears are silver. I dry my eyes with a makeshift cloth I made from old sand paper and cotton. And I do not care if it may hurt my eyes, for the starlight has fallen upon it, and I shall never allow anything to harm me tonight. The starlight rises from the cloth and embraces us as you enfold me in your arms. You fall into my arms and your ghostly mist embraces me lovingly and I try to kiss you, but I taste fumes of a kindling chimney fire in the air. I do not care. I allow you to reappear and beg you to take me with you. Your finger on my lips silences me as night bleeds into day, as snow falls on to our gold and silver tears.
I want something more.
Something different, something new, something great. An angel has fallen to the ground and as I look upon his chest, I see you rise to your feet and wink at me. And I remember that it is Christmas. The locket was given to me by a mystery man. Yet all of a sudden I have solved the mystery and I know what is happening. I unhook it from my neck and put it around the neck of the fallen angel, whose cheeks are a rosy red and bleeding rose petals. I take one and allow a golden tear to drop upon it as your silver tears enfold me as we mourn our fallen friend. I notice children in the snow and take a closer look. And I see that they are running to me, and I recognize the children I had met years and years ago. They are struggling in so many ways. And yet they are so happy. You lay an arm around me as the fallen angel rises to his feet. The children surround him as I weep tears of gold, and you of silver. We cry until we can cry no more, and I know that my greatest wish has been granted.
The children run to you as you take them into your arms. They embrace me as your silver tears flow down your face like a waterfall. And the children follow the angel, who promises me that they will be safe with him. I kiss his cheek and wave goodbye to the children as you turn to me and take my hands in yours. Though I know you mean well, I do not want the end. I want you to remain by my side, though we both know that that is not the right thing for us to do.
You smile and your silver tear falls upon my cheek as my golden tear falls upon your hand. I caress your cheek with my hand, leaving traces of gold upon it, in farewell. You promise it is not goodbye. I wonder how. And that's when I see that the angel has left my heart locket lying in the snow. You pick it up and put it around my neck and kiss my cheek. I open the locket and see what I had never expected. You caress me with your hand as I stare, speechless.
The locket holds a note. A note bearing the words:
Hope can never be destroyed. 
I embrace you one last time, hoping with all my heart that it will all be okay. You promise it will and back away as a cloud of stars allows you to be taken away into the Christmas night. I close my eyes as you reappear beside me. And you promise that as long as I keep hope, you can never truly go away.


Merry Christmas! May your holiday be full of joy, peace, and love

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Review: The Screwtape Letters

The Screwtape Letters The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story is the definition of irony....
At first, I'll admit, I struggled to understand the story's aim. It's not every day you get a story set from the devil's advocate's point of view. Screwtape is twisted to the core.
I enjoyed the ironic messages shown in this correspondence. Screwtape is really, despite being an evil spirit, that "affectionate uncle" you'd want, someone who loves even when things don't go his way, and treats the world with respect, despite what one might think, that he'd have no reason to.

It's a twisted way of forcing you to look deep inside yourself and see who you are.

At one point, Screwtape illustrates a point that really stuck out to me. He is describing to his nephew a family having a picnic. He illustrates an interesting point of how some of them don't want to have the specific get-together, but do so out of politeness. He says how this burden of unselfishness builds up to the point where other problems get involved in the mind and the result is resentment toward the family.

(This point reminded me of how many times I have done this sort of thing in order to not appear selfish, and Lewis is not wrong when he writes that it ultimately leads to unhappiness.)

All in all, a great story built on irony and an ultimate guide to self-discovery that I highly recommend to those willing to see a different, yet interesting, take on the human consciousness.

Uncle Screwtape, looking as handsome as ever.

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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Review: Beyond the Door

Beyond the Door Beyond the Door by Philip K. Dick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

And that's why I will never buy a cuckoo clock..... or piss off a bird....
This was very brief, but I enjoyed it all the same. Basically, the story is of a man who purchases a gift for his wife and gloats about buying it wholesale. The gift? A cuckoo clock, but no ordinary clock.
What little was given about Doris, Bob, and Larry put them in three distinct categories for me:
Larry: The self-absorbed jerk husband to Doris
Doris: The wife wishing for a better life (and a better marriage)
Bob: The lover who seems to hate the way Larry treats Doris and wants to be with her
The ending was very shocking and satisfying and, even though I can't call this my favorite Philip K. Dick story, he did do a good job here.

I thought cuckoo clocks were creepy before.... The bird popping out scares me. Now that I've seen this sentient little clock, I'm dead set against any of those old-fashioned clocks.

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Review: Gravity Falls: Journal 3

Gravity Falls: Journal 3 Gravity Falls: Journal 3 by Alex Hirsch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can't believe I actually picked this up and read it cover-to-cover.

I was expecting to enjoy it, but I didn't expect there to be a solid, coherent, dark, beautifully-written story within these pages. I expected more of a how-to guide to this dramatic, surprisingly dark Disney show. Wow! The more I peruse those pages, the more I realize just how carefully thought-out the show was. It was a joy to read the Author's backstory up to realizing that his "muse" wasn't what he thought him to be. The paranoia and fear is spilled onto the pages to the point where I felt parallels to Frankenstein and that's really amazing.
I will admit, however, that I felt the first half of the book to be better than the second half. The second half really fills itself in once you've watched the series and it was a little underwhelming. I guess I should read the first half, watch the entire series, and then finish it.
And just another thing I loved: this book is dark. Really dark.
It brought me back to how deep this show's story really was. And I love how neither show nor book shy away from this.
I highly recommend this book for any fan of the show.

(Sorry about the crappy quality of the second photo. It was showing up as an error sign before, so I had to take it down and then re upload it, and it came out like this.)

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Saturday, December 3, 2016

A Different Kind of Review

This blog is called "The Writer's Library" for a reason. I write about books I love and post my own writing. But today I'd like to stray a little bit from the norm.
In my review for Titanic by Filson Young, I posted a painting from my favorite artist's soundtrack titled RMS Titanic as part of a film scores project he's been doing over the past year. On December 1, 2016, the brilliant artist behind the film scores project wrapped it up with a score about Shackleton's exploration of the Antarctic.

Need it be said that I am incredibly sad to see this project wrap up? It has inspired me more than his other project, Owl City, ever could. I still love Owl City, but there's just something so magical about exploring the darkness of the past and the hope for the future. From the survivalist stories of the sinking ships Titanic and Endurance, to the hope unmasked at the end of the Civil War in Corduroy Road and the sheer wonder of Project Excelsior, this project has inspired me as a writer and young college student to always look at life through the eyes of a child, unbiased, innocently, and wondrously. 
Because life is hard. But it is never so hard that it's worth giving up. As I listen to these scores and find myself imagining what I can, I find that it's just another book I've closed. And definitely given five stars to!
So I write this as my review of the project known as "Adam Young Scores" and I proudly give it five stars for making 2016 a year of wonder, hope, joy, and tragedy. This man has brought out my once-lost sense of childlike wonder. And I am forever grateful to him for that. Thank you, Adam Young, for taking me on this incredible spiritual journey. I hope to see you write another score again soon.....  

And if you'd like to experience the beauty of these scores yourself, please support this artist by going to www.ayoungscores.com and taking a listen. Chances are, it will take you back to that state of childlike wonder and curiosity, just as it did me.