Book vs Movie: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

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The first time read A Clockwoark Orange was quite a few years ago. I’m not sure where my copy is and don’t remember which version it is. This time around I had a library ebook, the complete original version of the novel. Until reading the introduction, I hadn’t even realized there were different versions. Apparently, the American publisher decided not to include the final chapter when it was first published. This is the version the film was based on. It seems like a minor difference, but it does change the character arc of the protagonist Alex.

Quick summary for anybody that’s not aware. The story follows Alex, a teenager who spends his nights perpetrating violent crimes with his band of “Droogs”. When his friends turn on him and a robbery goes wrong, he ends up in jail for murder. In exchange for a reduced sentence he receives an experimental treatment which eliminates his ability to perform acts of violence. Once released he has to learn how to cope with the effects of the treatment and face the consequences of his earlier crimes. The story is written in first person from Alex’s point of view including fictional teenager slang from a futuristic Britian. This time around reading the book, it felt I bit easier to understand. Most of it is fairly easy to figure out from the context but it is a bit of a challenge to read. It’s not something I was able to speed through. But I appreciated it forcing me to slow down and really be absorbed into the story.

One of the most notable elements of the movie are the visuals. Kubrik went well beyond what is described in the book, as least from what I could decipher. From the sets to the wardrobe, it went a long way in the worldbuilding for the story. The movie feels very long for a novel that is not very long. The novel isn’t even two hundred pages meanwhile the movie is just a little over two hours long. Likely because the story sticks pretty close to the source material. There were only a few minor changes. In particular was the insertion of a very long intake process to jail. None of which is in the book, instead we got a long block of text from Alex about not really being seen as a person in the jail, how they aren’t even called by their names but instead their number. Much of the dehumanizing experience that Alex describes is shown with specific action. I’ve already mentioned the most substantial difference between the original novel and the movie. The novel takes us a little further along in Alex’s story, and we get a chance to see more of a character arc. Meanwhile there’s not much development for his character in the movie. However, I thought it left the end of his story opened ended. Considering how young he is there’s still lots of possibilities for the future. Viewers could make varying assumptions on where Alex may end up.

I feel like I say this too often, but this is a hard choice. I like both for different reasons and each has its issues. While reading I did get frustrated at times with the language. It’s a fun bit of worldbuilding and adds to the experience, made it difficult to read at times. And as much as I love the movie, it felt very long, a bit too long. I can’t even begin to try and recommend one over the other. I’m calling this a tie, and I suggest going with your instincts on which you might prefer.

Tarot Tuesdays: March 2022

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You have the choice of following the suggested prompts, using the image itself as a visual prompt, and/or including elements of the description/interpretation. Follow me on Instagram or Facebook, to get prompts weekly as they are posted.

Rocket Ship Spread

Prompt: Use this spread as a way to map out a character’s journey. Your character should have a main goal, the thing they want that sets them on this journey. Next up are their intentions, the qualities, values, and thoughts needed to reach their goal. Lastly, what actual steps do they take toward their goal?

Goal 
Queen of Blades: The Queen of Blades is an intelligent, independent, protective figure. This card advised you to be brave and unwavering in the pursuit of what you want. Stand your ground, muster your confidence and know your worth. 

Intentions to Set 
King of Goblets: The King of Goblets reversed represents someone who’s prone to unpredictable emotional outbursts. He can be manipulative and know how to exploit others’ compassion for personal gain. If you’ve been dealing with someone prone to this sort of volatility, this card cautions you to be wary of them. Take what they say with a grain of salt and keep your guard up. 
Eight of Bones: Reversed this card indicates delays and blockages. If you are struggling to get where you want to go, accept that this route isn’t working for you, and find a new path. 

Actionable Steps to Take 
Queen of Pentagrams: The Queen of Pentagrams is a business-savvy opportunist who appreciates the finer things in life. This card advises you to embrace your inner pragmatism to create abundance in your life. 
Seven of Blades: Reversed this card suggests you’re not being honest with yourself. Is there a personal truth you’re not letting yourself acknowledge? This card reversed indicates lying to yourself will only cause you grief. Being honest is the only way to grow and move forward. 
Ten of Blades: Represents a dramatic turn of events and advises you to stay on your toes and expect the unexpected, because you never know what fate has in store for you. 

Pictured cards and interpretations from The Supernatural Tarot Deck and Guidebook

King of Swords

Prompt: Write about somebody losing their head, literally or figuratively. 

Pictured card from the Ghosts & Spirits Tarot by Lisa Hunt, illustrating the legend of the Headless Horseman.

Strength

Prompt: Write about somebody with the power to create and destroy. How do they choose to use their power? (for good or evil, for their own benefit or that of others)

Pictured card from the Occult Tarot.
Vine: Builds towers or destroys stone walls. Causes rough waters. Find witches.

Death

Prompt: Write about somebody being visited by the Grim Reaper.

Ghosts & Spirits Deck

Nine of Swords & Seven of Pentacles

Prompt: Prompt: Write a scene with two characters inspired by the cards. Use the image alone or include the represented concepts included below.

Hopelessness, despair, anxiety
Rewards, profits, fruits of labor

Pictured cards from the Modern Witch Tarot Deck

For more Tarot Tuesday prompts sign up for my mailing list or join me for a workshop.

Check out my curated list on Bookshop.org for books on the tarot and a variety of decks I use.
Click here for Tarot Tuesday Resources

Tarot Tuesday: February Prompts

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You have the choice of following the suggested prompts, using the image itself as a visual prompt, and/or including elements of the description/interpretation. Follow me on Instagram or Facebook, to get prompts weekly as they are posted.

Queen of Swords 

Prompt: Draw aspects from the pictured card to create a character.

Andrealphus: Teaches Geometry and measurements. Increases one’s intelligence. Can transform a person into a bird

Clarity Spread 

Prompt: Use the pictured tarot card spread to explore a character at the midway point of the story. Keep in mind these are basic meanings and leave room for varying interpretations and personalization. Be creative, use the reversed meaning if the card is upright and/or your own interpretations of the cards.  

  1. What do they need to know to move forward? Judgment: Change of position, renewal, outcome. Reversed: The same in a lesser sense. 
  1. What or who should they embrace? The Emperor: Stability, power, protection; a great person; aid, reason, conviction. Reversed: Benevolence, compassion, credit; also confusion to enemies, obstruction, immaturity. 
  1. What do they need to let go of? Six of Pentacles–Presents, gifts, gratification; another account says attention, vigilance; now is the accepted time, present prosperity, etc. Reversed: Desire, cupidity, envy, jealousy, illusion. 
  1. What’s next? Eight of Cups–The card speaks for itself on the surface (A man of dejected aspect is deserting the cups of his happiness, enterprise, mission or previous concern.) but other readings are antithetical–giving joy, mildness, timidity, honor, modesty. Reversed: Great joy, happiness, feasting.   

The High Priestess & The Magician 

Prompt: Write a story where two powerful characters have to team up to accomplish their individual goals. You may want to include characteristics from the included card descriptions. 

Supernatural Tarot Deck

The High Priestess is a very powerful magical figure who is known to have a lot going on beneath the surface. She is a reminder to listen to your own instincts. She’s depicted as Rowena, a powerful witch. She is a master manipulator and ruthless in pursuit of her own goals, usually gaining more power. 

The Magician is full of inspired action and a reminder to embrace your own infinite potential. Depicted as Chuck aka God, the ultimate source of creative power. He embraces his power to write exactly the story he wants and start anew when things don’t go the way he wants. 

Eight of Presents (Pentacles) 

Prompt: Use the pictured card as a visual prompt. Start by describing the illustration, then add in elements of action including details from before and after this particular moment. You can also incorporate details from the description and interpretation included below.

This card represents the act of working hard to learn new skills. Like a Christmas Elf building toys for Sandy Claws, you’ll perfect your craft through repetition and attention to detail. Tasks will get easier for you the more often you practice. Reversed: Attention to detail is great until it turns into shrewd perfectionism Step back and try not to focus so much on the minutiae. Make sure the big picture is on track before getting lost in the details. 

Pictured card and interpretation from The Nightmare Before Christmas Tarot Deck and Guidebook.

For more Tarot Tuesday prompts sign up for my mailing list or join me for a workshop.

Check out Bookshop for featured decks and other Tarot resources

https://bookshop.org/lists/tarot-tuesday-resources

Book vs Movie: The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte (The Ninth Gate)

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I watched the movie Ninth Gate many years ago and didn’t even realize it was based on book until recently when I was searching for adaptations for this blog series. I’m don’t think I paid enough attention to the movie, I’m sure I only watched it because of Johnny Depp. I only remember being confused about the ending, which I didn’t even remember correctly.

In the book, we follow Lucas Corso, a sort of mercenary for hardcore book collectors, while working two separate jobs. A friend has asked him to authenticate a handwritten chapter of Alexander Dumas’s Three Musketeer’s. At the same time, he’s been tasked with comparing a rare occult book with the other two existing copies to determine if any are a forgery. His client also wants to possess the other copies by any means possible. As he begins his investigation, things escalate pretty quickly, he’s seduced by the widow of the manuscript’s former owner, a man Corso believes to be a character in a Dumas novel follows then attacks him, and he keeps running into a girl going by the name of a Sherlock Holmes character. There’s also the body count related to both items. I really enjoyed the mystery of the book. There were constant questions about how everything tied together. I don’t want to give it away, but it ended with a couple of twists, one I was not expecting at all.

As for the movie, they made a lot of minor changes that I didn’t really understand. Like the book was completely set in Europe, but the movie starts in New York. They also changed the character’s first name from Lucas to Dean. Neither makes much a difference, so why bother. Most of the other changes made sense as they condensed the story down. A major element they eliminated was the whole Dumas manuscript. In the movie, his only task is to compare the book and obtain by any means possible. Most of the storyline stays the same except the ending isn’t as surprising. Although I didn’t remember much of the movie, I had thought I enjoyed it the first time I watched. Watching it again, most of it seemed vaguely familiar and it was okay. My memory of the ending was a bit off, my confusion probably was because I didn’t pay enough attention.

After reading the book, I’d have to say that was better. The movie gives away too much to the audience. There are times where we are shown things that Corso does not see. In the book, we get the story from Corso’s point of view, so as he tries to figure out each mystery we do too. I like the challenge of it, the movie just made me a passive viewer, where the book made me feel like an active participant. Also, one the twists that really got me was left out.

Tarot Tuesday: January Prompts

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Either use the images alone as a visual prompt for your writing or use the information included below each pic for a bit of extra inspiration. Follow me on Instagram to get prompts weekly as they are posted.

The Fool vs The World 

Prompt: Use the two cards as goal posts for the beginning and ending of a story. 

Pictured cards from The Nightmare Before Christmas Tarot Deck

The Fool represents your character at the beginning of their adventure, they might be a bit impulsive, naive and inexperienced but that doesn’t mean he is a fool. Pictured here as Jack Skellington the protagonist of The Nightmare Before Christmas, he was enthusiastic and determined, yet ill-advised to take over Christmas. 

The World represents the completion of a journey, when your character finds what it is that will make them whole. 

King of Wands 

Prompt: Use the demon Asmodeus and his attributes as the inspiration for a villain. 

Pictured cards from the Occult Tarot

Asmodeus 
Makes men fly into passionate rage and desire. Destroys the happiness of married couples. Wastes the beauty of virgins. Reveals the future.

Past, Present, Future Spread

Prompt: Create a narrative by reading the cards from left to right as past, present, future.

Pictured cards from the Ghosts and Spirits Tarot Deck

Past: The Sun (The Grateful Dead) A good-hearted hero pays a dead man’s debt and then befriends a stranger on his journey. After a pattern of good fortune the stranger reveals his identity as the dead man the hero helped. 

Present: Page of Cups (Encantado-Dolphin Shapeshifters) Natural animal spirits with the ability to transform into humans. They were known for wreaking havoc, including shifting into handsome men to seduce young women. Although if properly respected they could be protective and healing spirits. 

Future: The Chariot (The Wild Hunt) A savage phantom army of hideous horses and wild dogs hunt down the damned and carry bad omens for those who dare to spy. Their ruthless display knows no mercy as their unearthly wails foreshadow death. 

Lucifer’s Cage Spread

Prompt: Use the Lucifer’s Cage layout and card interpretations as a guide to writing out your character’s major conflict. 

Pictured cards from The Supernatural Tarot Deck card layout and instructions from included guidebook
  1. The Cage: The behaviors, action, or situations holding you back. 
    Death: A challenging and major life change. 
  1. The Seal: The action that needs to be taken in order for you to overcome the obstacle represented by the cage card. 
    The Hanged Man: Open your mind to new ideas and perspectives. 
  1. Breaking the Seal: What will happen when you take the action revealed by the seal card and are freed from your personal cage. 
    Queen of Pentagrams: You’ll take advantage of the opportunity to use your power for profit and create a life of abundance.

If you enjoyed these prompts, consider checking out my Tarot Tuesday Writing Workshops coming up in March, weekly at 2pm online via Zoom.

Check out Eventbrite for a full list of current and upcoming workshops.

Book vs Movie: The Dark Half by Stephen King

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Been a while since I did one of these. Haven’t been too good at planning things out and sticking to a regular publishing schedule. Hopefully, in this new year that will change. This post only came about because I was gifted the matching set, book and DVD, of The Dark Half. Probably because this is an older one, I hadn’t read it yet, still working my way through Kings back catalog.

I have to say even for Stephen King, this story is pretty fucken bonkers. Writer Thad Beaumont kills off his crime novel writing pen name George Stark before it can be exposed by a creep looking for a payday. However, George was always more than just a name and becomes his own complete living and breathing person just in time to fight for his right to exist. He digs himself out of his imaginary grave to go on a killing spree, targeting anyone involved in his demise, naturally saving Thad for last. I enjoyed the book, it’s pretty dark and damn suspenseful. And very obviously inspired by King’s own life, at least partly. However, it leaves so many unanswered questions. There’s an implied connection to Thad’s absorbed twin and references to folklore involving sparrows as a link between the land of the dead and living. But there’s never really an explanation for George’s physical manifestation. As much as I enjoyed the story I was left wanting more. But I guess ending with the mystery is better than a half-hearted attempt that tanks the whole story.

With George Romero directing, Timothy Hutton as Thad, and Michael Rooker as Sheriff Pangborn, I was expecting a lot from the movie before it even started. It pretty much lived up to expectations. About the first third of the movie sticks pretty close to the story from the novel, switching around a couple scenes and condensing things down a bit. Then it veers off and goes in a slightly different direction. We get a slight attempt at applying some logic to George’s appearance, but it didn’t add much to the story. One major difference was the intense focus on Thad and George, most of the other characters fade into the background. Hutton was great as both. I like that Thad is portrayed a bit darker the movie, it’s a bit of foreshadowing early on to the reveal of George Stark. I wish Rooker had more screentime but, but Sheriff Pangborn’s role in the movie was dramatically reduced. I’d say it was a good movie, but the story still feels very hard to believe.

This is a hard one. I enjoyed both but it really felt like there was something missing in both. There are too many holes in the story, it takes a lot of suspended disbelief to buy into it. Since I have to pick one, I’d go with the book. The characters actions and leaps of logic in the movie are a little too far-fetched. The way things unfold in the novel comes across a tad bit more realistic, at least enough to make it more enjoyable.

NaNoWriMo 2021 Final Update

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So here we are on the final day of November. I did not reach 50,000 words. I didn’t really even get close. But I did write every day except one, I took Thanksgiving Day off. That is way more of an important win than how many words I wrote. Because honestly, I’m not sure how many of those words are actually useful. I started the month without a real story in mind. I had hoped in expanding on the drafts I already had, one might start emerging. That did not happen, and I think I’m more confused now than when I started. Now I’ve got even more fragments, random scenes, and character background and less idea of the story I want for these characters. But I’d rather not dwell on the downsides.

There is a much bigger bright side. I managed the longest daily writing streak I’ve had in I don’t even know how long. The other major outcome of this month, has been a better sense of how to structure my days and schedule my writing time. Since I left my job earlier this year, I haven’t been very good at sticking with a routine or daily schedule. I’ve been switching it up often trying to figure out what works best. I finally realized that if I want to write every day, I think I do, it’s best to stick with the same time every day. I also concluded that it’s best to get my writing done in the morning. The days I had afternoon write-ins scheduled, it was easy to lose track of time in the morning and end up wasting time instead of working on something else. So yeah, a month well spent. I’ll just share a few stats to finish things off.

  • Total word count 30, 883
  • Highest daily wordcount 2,052
  • Daily writing streak 24 days
  • Average daily word count 1,028

NaNoWriMo 2021 Week 3

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Week three went about as good as I expected, which wasn’t great. I honestly have no idea what I’m doing. I mean like literally, I still don’t really have a story. I’m working with a vague idea and couple of characters. I thought working with workshop drafts would have inspired some new ideas, but not so much. I expanded on a few of them, but they weren’t as productive as I thought they’d be. This week I had to start from scratch and it was an uphill battle all week.

I had the added bonus of feeling kind of sick all week. Nothing major just a little congestion but also feeling really run down. Didn’t get much of anything done all week. I still managed to write everyday, which at this point is a bigger goal for me than my wordcount. I’ve completely given up on catching up and reaching the 50,000 word mark by the end of the month. I’m going to keep it up though. I lost of a bit of momentum, but I feel like writing everyday has had an effect on my productivity. I hope to keep it up after this month.

NaNoWriMo 2021–Week 2

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The Project

This year’s project revolves around Dante, a character I’ve been writing about for quite a few years. (Check out her fictional blog) I haven’t posted to the blog in some time, but she’s still very much in my head. For a while every workshop prompt would end up being about her or somebody in her world. So I have all these bits and pieces that I decided I would type up, finish, expand, whatever. Honestly, I’m not sure what I’m doing. I don’t really have a story in mind yet, just barely the tiniest spark of an idea. But I decided to go with it any.

Week 2 Writing

So far it’s been pretty easy, mostly I’m just typing up handwritten drafts. As I go along I’m adding extra little bits and expanding or finished incomplete scenes. I’ve still been running behind on my daily wordcount. Hosting the write-ins have been extremely helpful, days I really didn’t feel like writing, I pretty much had no choice. While I didn’t want to overwhelm myself, it might have been a good idea not to skip days. It pretty obvious the days without write-ins I’m a whole lot less productive. Wednesdays seem to be the worst day, two weeks in a row, I only managed a few hundred words. I’m trying not to stress too much on it. Instead I’m focusing on the achievement of writing everyday. That a big win to celebrate no matter what my actual output is. I knew this would be a big challenge, especially since I’m not solely dedicated to the NaNo project.

This week I finished all of the drafts I had. Now I am working completely from scratch. So, we’ll see how I progress going forward. Today is officially the halfway point and I’m at 19086 words, my average words per day is 1272 and I’m on track to finish by December 9th.

Participating in NaNoWriMo 2021

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I attempted NaNoWriMo for the first time in 2015. I finished my story but was still short about 5,000 words. For me that was accomplishment enough. It was the closest I got to the 50,000 word goal for the next several years. Then last year, I finally won working on memoir writing instead of a novel. I’m still working on editing, rewriting and organizing a workable draft. But memoir writing can be pretty heavy. So I decided to lighten things up by working on some fiction for NaNoWriMo. My goal is to work on both at the same time, but we’ll see how it goes.

To help keep me on track I’ve decided to host some virtual write-ins. Something I started doing this past July for Camp NaNoWriMo. It helps to have company and to be obligated to show up to write. I have four of those scheduled throughout the week in addition to group writing sessions I already attend. It should be more than enough writing time to hit the goal, but my main issue is losing momentum on the project I’ve already been working on.

Week one

Usually the first couple of days or week I try to go beyond the daily word count. It helps to get ahead early, because I will likely loose steam at some point. I wasn’t able to manage it this week. In fact, I’ve been behind all week. Starting off the week with an average of 15000 words a day. Wednesday I barely managed 200 words. I don’t know if it’s the schedule, the change in weather, or just my body being weird, but I’ve been exhausted. I mean tired enough that by two in the afternoon I need a nap. I managed to pick up the pace later in the week and almost catch up. Saturday I even thought I might be back on track, but fell behind again on Sunday. I have a usual routine that includes being a lazy bum and binge watching a TV series. (This week it was Lock & Key.) I managed to get in about a thousand words first though.

In all I guess my first week wasn’t so bad. I’m happy with my progress, I wrote every day. I also managed to keep up with work on other projects I have going on. Maybe not as much as I would have liked but I’m not trying to overwhelm myself. Spent way too many years overworking myself just to burn out and give up on everything. Not doing it again. Well, I better be off to do some actual writing.

For more info and to register for upcoming write-ins, check out the Eventbrite page.