Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Belated Valentine's Post

In my glee over one of the best Sci Fi Saturday night movies ever yesterday, I forgot to mention writing progress. I got a chapter written on Friday night, then on Saturday, after ten pages I realized that perhaps I'd been a trifle overly enthusiastic, and if I kept going at that pace, I'd run out of story within about 100 pages. I was just racing through stuff. So I'm taking a step back and working through some things to flesh out the story a bit more. Better to figure this out now than later.

I saw The King's Speech yesterday, and I can totally see how Colin Firth is sweeping the awards. That role is Oscar bait because the guy with the mental or physical handicap always wins, but what really impressed me wasn't the stutter but the way that you could read on his face what he was trying to say while he was blocked by the stutter. I was also impressed by the way he managed to convey vulnerability layered under the royal dignity. There were times when I wanted to reach through the screen and hold his hand. I remember thinking during the movie that taking a powerful character like that and giving him a weakness like that was a great writing lesson -- a way to make someone powerful like a king more relatable. And then I realized that's what I did in making Owen, the handsome, powerful wizard, painfully shy. So I guess I do know what I'm doing. I haven't had any kind of speech impediment and I'm one of the rare people who has no fear of public speaking, but the way they showed him before giving a speech is exactly the way I feel when I have to sing in public in a situation where I know people can hear me. The rest of the cast was also great, and the combination of acting and clothing/hair/makeup meant I was having trouble recognizing familiar actors and meant I spent the closing credits going "That's who that was!"

Also, Colin Firth has the perfect build for wearing a well-tailored suit, with the wide shoulders and narrow waist, and I noticed how often they framed shots to show that off.

Anyway, today is the real romantic holiday: half-price chocolate day. So, here's my planned Valentine's Day post. I've been listening to movie soundtracks while writing, and that gave me a new most/least romantic category: best love theme for the worst couple. The love theme that John Williams wrote for Padme and Anakin is gorgeous -- starting all haunting with oboe and harp, then swelling to the full orchestra before fading back to the simple harp and oboe. It's just too bad that the couple that goes with the theme is so lame. Ever since we learned that Darth Vader was Luke's father, I wondered what his mother was like. Was she a Lady MacBeth type, pushing Anakin Skywalker and encouraging his ambition, or was she maybe a comrade in arms, someone who fought by his side and who couldn't quite pull him back from the brink? I guess Padme wasn't too bad (aside from being such a wimp that she died "of a broken heart" when there was nothing physically wrong with her, leaving her newborn children alone). The problem was that I couldn't imagine someone like her ever going for a guy like him. She was mature beyond her years and had dedicated her life to public service and ideals like justice and freedom. Would she really go for some whiny kid with a bad totalitarian streak? Meanwhile, their relationship was just so tepid. You'd think that a forbidden love so powerful that the fear of losing her would be enough to turn him evil and that she'd die of a broken heart when he went evil would have a little more oomph to it and go beyond insipid platitudes straight out of some of the worst Victorian dime romances.

Now I want to see the couple who fits that love theme. Hmm, I'll have to get to work on that. There is a haunting, tragic tone to it, but I don't know if that means that the couple would have to have a sad ending. Maybe they just deal with a lot of pain along the way.

Now, my current favorite romantic storyline may be "the boy who waited," like with Rory on Doctor Who, who was willing to take the long way through history -- nearly 2,000 years -- to protect the woman he loved (he had some advantage in being a robot at the time, but it was his soul and personality that made the decision). There's another fictional boy who waited, but it's in something I still consider spoiler-protected. It's not so much that I want a man to jump through such huge hoops. It's more that this is a science fiction metaphor for the idea of a man putting the needs of his loved one ahead of his own wants and convenience. A man willing to wait 2,000 years is probably someone who would pause and think about how a woman will feel about what he does instead of only thinking about what he wants. If you've ever had a (soon-to-be ex) boyfriend whine, "When I'm dating someone, I like to go out with her," after you decline his invitation to go out to dinner and to a movie on the grounds that you've just had knee surgery and you're still on prescription painkillers, your knee is still badly swollen so you can't bend it enough to sit comfortably in a movie theater (in the days before stadium seating), you're still on crutches, and since you live in a third-floor apartment, just going out is something of an ordeal, then you can understand why I might find the self-sacrificing thing an appealing romantic fantasy.

And, no, I didn't make that up or even exaggerate it. That really happened. We broke up during that same conversation, but I'm hazy on the details because the prescription painkillers kicked in soon afterward. I do recall him saying something about how he didn't think you should date someone more than a few times unless you thought you could marry them because otherwise you're wasting your time. And I'm pretty sure I told him that we'd probably better not go out anymore, then, because I wasn't going to marry him. If he'd even paused to think, he wouldn't have asked me out. If he wanted to see me, he'd have picked up some takeout and a movie and come over, and maybe asked if there was anything he could do to help while he was there. If he'd offered to take my trash out, I might have married him. Anyway, that probably explains why I find the idea of a guy who's willing to seriously inconvenience himself for the well-being of his loved one so appealing. I haven't really written anything like that yet, but generally the things that you really respond to are things you should think about writing.

No comments: