Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Ruby & Purple

Last week was challenging and then all right, with great variability, and the best of my attention was spent on productivity. I read and pitched and wrote and read some more. I started a fight on the internet, and it was helpful for plenty of people but quite deleterious for me. Multiple reviews went live after a couple of dry weeks. I had a piece published that took a lot of research and time to assemble, and it kind of vanished without a ripple, which bums me out. A silly Twitter thread I did on Mansfield Park got more attention. Also, I finished up the fourth in Laurie J. Marks's Elemental Logic series, a tetralogy of books that has been one of the purest pleasures of my year. The first draft of my review was 1,300 words, and I could have gone on and on and on after that.

I had a lot to think about and process after the last couple of weeks, and that might be why this week has been snoozy and unproductive. I have a pile of ideas to write about, and no motivation whatsoever to write them. Some of this feels like perfectionism, some of it overwhelm. Luckily, there's always reading to do when I can't seem to write.

Last night my brain gave me yet another idea I don't necessarily have the time for: an essay that breaks down the 1977 film Ruby, which is truly awful, but which I love, and which is a failure that I suspect has an interesting and/or sad story behind it. My guess is that Ruby once had a good screenplay; excavating its layers shows that, most probably, someone came in to "enhance" it with zeitgeist elements and screwed it up. There's cliche, genuinely compelling drama, cheesy Exorcist imitation, unique combinations of genre elements, and deeply stupid horror scenes. It's a very both/and movie, the kind of bad art that fascinates me bottomlessly.

This is bad art idea #3, after essays on Plan 9 and Death Bed, so it's starting to seem more likely that I have a book about bad art in me - less a hope than a likelihood. I wish I could pursue it now, instead of pursuing all the other crap I want to/have to write first, but it's probably better to let it marinate anyway. In the meantime, if you're interested, Ruby is on YouTube, and a less grainy version is available with a Rifftrax track attached, the existence of which I think I'll use in the essay.

Of note, I'm writing this on my tiny purple laptop, which I bought after dragging my too-heavy-for-airport-walking laptop to Iceland, and which in terms of processing power and etc is worth about what I paid for it ($200), but which has the major advantage of being purple. I know I'm not the only person who is suckered by aesthetics when making purchases. Purple and dip-dye are the two most reliable ways to make me buy something.

In a little less than a month, a short story I wrote will go on sale as a standalone ebook at the Wild Rose Press. It's priced at only $0.99, so if you'd like to support me, I hope you'll pick it up. I'll have more news about that, promotional links and whatnot, soon.

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