Jul 27

A Big Day

My wife and I decided to make a day of it yesterday. First we went to the local mall and gave blood, then rewarded ourselves by going to see The Dark Knight. Let me tell you some things about The Dark Knight. No spoilers, don’t worry.

This movie takes a good, hard look at some fundamental themes: good, evil, justice, honor. What sets this movie apart is that director/scriptwriter Christopher Nolan pulls no punches. When the situation goes bad, Nolan does not flinch. It’s really great when a filmmaker gives his audience credit for having some intelligence. From the opening scene, you realize that you have put yourself into the hands of a madman, yet the storytelling is so compelling that you can’t look away.

Two of the intertwined themes that infuse this movie are the cost of honor and the cost of justice. How much are you willing to pay? How far are you willing to go? What are you wliing to sacrifice? When the shitrain falls and every direction you look is darker than the other, what do you do?

This is the point where other filmmakers back off and use the time-honored Hollywood cliches. You won’t get that here. Some of what you will see is shocking. Very shocking. All of it is dark. The title does not lie, either.

The Dark Knight is by turns shocking, humorous, terrifying, and tragic. Just like the humans that it portrays. There were moments when I wanted to stand up and applaud, other moments that had me crying. In the end I was wrung out, drained, almost unable to cope with the depth and variety of emotion.

I want to leave you with the following caveats:

  • THIS IS NOT A MOVIE FOR CHILDREN!!! I could not believe that people actually brought young children to see this. This is a serious movie for adults, not a comic book.
  • The movie is two and a half hours long, and you won’t get much time to breathe. Be prepared for a long, dark, train wreck.
  • Do not expect to be merely entertained. You will be forced to think; you will be forced to feel. You will see things that will haunt you for a long time to come.
  • Heath Ledger as The Joker will scare the Hell out of you. He is maniacal, frighteningly real. If his performance does not win a posthumous Oscar, then we will all know the awards are rigged.

Go see The Dark Knight if you want to experience an intelligent, dark vision of humanity in all its glory and awfulness.

Jul 19

Now I AM Depressed ;)

Based on PBW’s recommendation, I bought a copy of Marjorie M. Liu’s Iron Hunt a couple of weeks ago. I started reading it last night and … and … damn!

This is writing that transcends the mere words. The beauty and rhythm and imagery turns plain prose into song. It is as rich and creamy as fine cheesecake, as wild and fierce as the Arctic wind. It’s not a book I can read in large chunks. I’m having to ration it, savor it.

This is writing that I dream about. When I read something like this, I despair of ever being so good. It’s really hard to keep going when the bar is this high. I know that practice makes perfect, but damn! Just damn!

Even if you don’t like dark fantasy, you should at least stop into your local book store and read the first chapter. The power and beauty of Liu’s poetic writing will knock your boots clean off. This is definitely one for my keeper shelf.

Jul 17

Bad Blogger! Bad Blogger!

Bless me bloggers, for I have sinned. It’s been two weeks since my last post.

The truth is that I am living in grayscale right now. No colors, just drab and fading slowly toward the Fall. This is the really fun time for me. I’m not depressed (yet), but neither am I anywhere near wherever normal is. Not even the blues. Just gray. It is literally all I can do to get up and go to work every day. I’m not going to start staying home, though. That would be a defeat of the worst kind for me.

The good news is that I have made some progress on Washed in the Blood. I think I have finally got the opening in shape. Now there is an immediate sense of menace, and Thomas is revealed as the monster from the first scene. That is followed by a couple of scenes in which Thomas is urbane and charming and quite unmonsterlike. That takes a little of the edge off of the axe when it falls shortly thereafter, but I think that is drowned out by the horror of what he does then.

I have one more scene to flesh out (so to speak, heh heh), and Chapter 1 will be pretty much complete at 6000 words. That may be a little short, but a lot goes on, and I think the reader needs a break at this point. The revision should pick up some steam after this, because I won’t be so distracted by that opening. Not that it’s likely to survive the next revision, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

BTW, I found this book at B&N last weekend:

Break the Bipolar Cycle: a Day-by-Day Guide to Living With Bipolar Disorder
Elizabeth Brandolo and Xavier Amador
ISBN: 978-0-07-148153-3

I STRONGLY recommend this book to anyone living with Bipolar Disorder or their loved ones and caregivers. It’s full of workshops and forms to help you cope and to help you talk to your doctor about what is happening. It has also helped me understand some things I had thought were just symptoms of craziness. Ever wonder why I never call? The answer is in Chapter 10.

Jul 02

Days of Light and Darkness

The Summer Solstice has come and gone, and darkness creeps closer every day.

Even in these days of light, the darkness rules my life. Those who have followed this blog for very long understand that I am bipolar, originally diagnosed as having unipolar depression. I live with darkness every day. Some days are darker than others.

This has been my whole life. When I was growing up, such disorders were not allowed, not even to be thought about, shameful. I spent over forty years living in a Hell I could not understand. I simply could not comprehend why I felt so damned bad all the time. Only a close encounter with suicide finally brought home to me that there was something seriously wrong.

I recently celebrated my first anniversary of feeling pretty much worth a shit most of the time. A good psychiatrist who stuck with me through those bad times and never gave up on me made all the difference in my life. I wish everyone could be so lucky. Some of my friends don’t have that luxury and suffer the tortures of the damned sometimes because of it.

Neither do I have the luxury anymore. My doctor, my friend, the man who saved my life, moved away. My new doctor is not so good. That is unfortunate, but not unrecoverable. I could change doctors, shop around to see what else is out there, but I won’t, at least not yet.

The best thing my former doctor did for me was to arm me, or armor me, to give me the tools I need to understand what is happening to me and to know that I can survive the bad times and that good times will come around again.

Bipolar Disorder is all about cycles. Light follows dark as surely as day follows night. Maybe the dark times last longer than the light, but that just means that I can enjoy the good times more, knowing that they will fade, as well.

Days of sunlight, nights of storms. Weeks of darkness, weeks of light. I will survive. I’m too damned stubborn to do anything else.