Shut your eyes and see.
- This here is some advice about how to be a writer; it’s geared towards fiction-writing, but it works for other kinds of writing as well.
- This is, however, the Super-Advanced Edition of writing advice.
- If you would like some more basic advice, then read this first.
- And then maybe this.
- Anyway; so — How To Write, Super-Advanced Edition. Beginning right…
- So now…
- …Shut your eyes and see, as James Joyce recommends above.
- Shut your eyes and see — imagine the world as you would first see it, coming in, from above.
- Entering the world, our world, for the first time, coming in through the clouds: you are an angel, a baby being carried by a stork, Superman, a UFO, whatever.
- Seeing it for the first time, as you’re coming in through the clouds, how would you describe it?
- How would you describe the world through fresh eyes?
- Because that’s it; that’s the job description.
- As Saul Bellow once said, “Reality is the job.”
- As Ezra Pound once said: “Make it new.”
- As William Carlos Williams once said: “Invent! No ideas but in things.”
- Are you Advanced enough to handle this? Because it’s a lot harder than it sounds.
- Here’s a poem…
- …It’s called ‘A Martian Sends a Postcard Home,’ and it is by Craig Raine–
- That is it. That is the entire poem.
- Do you see?
- Do you see it; to see the world fresh like that?
- That’s writing. To explain the world to others.
- Here’s a quote from a novel by a writer who knows a lot about writing…
- …The quote describes a writer who is struggling to write…
- Here is the quote–
- That is the entire quote.
- “This is what an artist has to be: harassed to the point of insanity or stupefaction by first principles.” Right; exactly.
- If you’re not looking at the world and asking questions about it, then what are you doing?
- Why? Why cars? Why girls, why boys, why dating, why love, why cars, and stars, and bars? None of these things have to exist the exactly the way that they are, but they do — so explain to us why they are they way they are, and then tell us what the world should be.
- That’s writing.
- “Harassed to the point of insanity or stupefaction…” Right.
- Think of Vincent Van Gogh, killing himself, trying to paint the night sky, or a field of wheat with crows in it — killing himself, actually literally killing himself, from the hardness, from the strain of trying to show you the world new; trying to show what the world was really like in a way that the world had never been shown before, but in a way that would make you slap your forehead and say– “Oh, of course. The wold was like that all along; and I never knew it, never knew it!”
- Van Gogh shot himself in the chest from the strain of it all.
- His last words were: “La tristesse durera toujours.”
- “La tristesse durera toujours.” The sadness will never end.
- Think about that one, the sadness never ending like that.
- Maybe write something about it.
- Write something about it; the world new, but the world as it always was.
- That’s it. That’s your assignment.
- Are you ready?
- Then begin?
- . . . . .
- Are you finished, done?
- Then rip it up and start again.
I dare you to get on your Instagram right now and see how many of these are currently on your feed.
1. Unfunny meme
2. Unfunny meme that you hate yourself for laughing at
4. Selfie from three feet above the person’s head to make them look slimmer
5. Selfie with so many filters, they don’t even look human
8. Split picture with a sunset on one side and a sunrise on the other
9. Airplane wing
10. Overly filtered airplane wing with around 25 unnecessary hashtags
11. Blurry concert picture
12. Nine more pictures from the same concert at slightly different angles
13. A dog (Perfectly fine with this one, by the way)
14. An attempt at an artistic shot of a bridge, but you can see the guy’s thumb in the corner of the picture
15. A beer can
16. A bathroom selfie taken at work, which should go over really well with their employer
17. A picture of a Chipotle burrito, in case you’ve never seen one
18. Screenshot from another social media platform (We already saw your tweet, so you can stop that)
19. A recently deceased character from a popular TV show that you aren’t caught up on, so it’s immediately ruined for you
20. A tree with the sun shining through the branches
21. A selfie that has a tree with the sun shining through the branches in the background
22. Your friend with a minor celebrity you don’t recognize
23. Your friend with a reality star he ran into at Foot Locker in the mall
24. An inspirational quote in a terrible font with flowers in the background
25. A Starbucks cup (Thanks for that one)
26. Latte where the foam forms a heart
27. Screenshot of a series of inside joke texts with someone you don’t know
28. A video (No idea what’s on it because no one watches Instagram videos)
29. Selfie at the gym
30. Blurry picture from the club
31. Blurry picture from the club that you were accidentally tagged in
32. The sky
33. Your friend’s television with her feet propped up in a recliner
34. Celebrity that you follow for some reason hanging out with other celebrities
35. Celebrity that you follow for some reason having brunch with their cousin
36. Your ex snuggled up with a new love interest (You both suck)
37. A movie ticket stub
38. A movie ticket stub posted by your friend who said she couldn’t hang out today because she wasn’t feeling well
39. Your cousin’s weird looking baby
40. Your cousin’s weird looking baby in the Toaster filter (WHY??)
41. A blurry picture of a guy on the subway who kind of looks like Mario Lopez
42. Your awkward co-worker as a child
43. Your awkward co-worker as a child with everyone in your office tagged in it, for some reason
44. A bunch of drunks
45. Thirty pictures of your friend posing with each drunk member of the party
46. Selfie of a girl in an extremely low cut shirt asking if we like her new bangs
47. An absurdly expensive item with the caption “WANT!”
48. An absurdly expensive item with the caption “WANT!” that you’ve been tagged in by your girlfriend
49. A selfie that looks like it was taken by a professional with the hashtag #nomakeup #nofilter
50. A screenshot from an iPhone that stresses me out because your battery life is so low
The first group are films you have most likely seen, then there’s a few that there is a chance you may have not seen (although have definitely heard of), and then there are those that may have slipped through the cracks when you were debating on what to watch when you were scanning the walls at Blockbuster a million years ago/hitting up Netflix for movie night. Don’t get me wrong – this is not my list of favorite movies of all time. Yes, some of those are on here but I’d much rather give you a list of suggestions. Chances are you’ve seen or heard many of these before, but I guarantee you’re going to at least contemplate watching one of these movies that you haven’t seen after reading this. Oh, and one last thing before I start: I’d like to remind everyone this list is completely subjective and there are plenty of movies I believe should be watched by everyone that I did not include on this list. Also, nothing is in any particular order.
NECESSARY VIEWING: Movies you have most likely seen or heard of in your life (and if not… you live under a rock and should be ashamed).
I don’t even know where to begin with this film. It won 6 Oscars in 1995, and had another 37 wins and 44 nominations for various awards. In my humble opinion, I think the best part of this movie is that you are taken on a cultural and historic journey through the point of view of a simple mind.
There is absolutely NOTHING bad to say about it. It is brilliant from top to bottom – the cast, the acting, the script, the concept, the score, the story… it’s all just amazing. It is easily one of the most quotable movies out there. Not everyone knows this but it’s also based on a book.
I’m sure you’ve all seen this movie so I’m going to stop there, but if you haven’t seen it don’t tell me because I’m going to judge the shit out of you. If you have seen it (which I’m sure most of you have) then I LOVE YOU JENNAY.
The Shawshank Redemption
There’s not much to say about Shawshank Redemption other than that it’s remarkable and considered one of the greatest movies of all time. I mean, Morgan Freeman has the voice of God so if you are going to watch it for any reason at all it should be that he narrates and stars in it. Who DOESN’T like Morgan Freeman? If he narrated a documentary on the history of tooth floss I would probably be captivated.
Shawshank Redemption has one of those stories that keeps you intrigued from the very beginning to the very end. Andy Dufresne is a character that you root for the whole way through. His intelligence is astounding, his gumption is unrivaled, and his scene at the end with the rain (trying not to give anything away) is just… unreal. This is a timeless movie and if you have any depth in your appreciation for film you’ve seen it or plan on watching it at some point.
Quentin Tarantino is probably my favorite director. He is a fucking weirdo but I love him.
Pulp Fiction is pure dominance. Like most of Tarantino’s films, Pulp Fiction is not told in chronological order, and it is broken up into chapters. Also, the characters are connected in some way. But most of all, the best thing about a Tarantino film is that things usually start out going one way, and then everything changes in a matter of seconds with a shocking turn of events.
Pulp Fiction has some legendary scenes- everyone who has seen this movie and loves it has a particular favorite scene. In my opinion one of the best quirks about Pulp Fiction (and most Tarantino movies, for that matter), is the character dialogue. Only in a Tarantino movie will you find Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta discussing the different interpretations of a foot massage. The thing is it’s hard to really explain this movie to someone who hasn’t seen it. It’s one of those movies that you have to just watch based on someone saying “Seriously this movie is awesome. Watch it”.
The Silence of the Lambs
What a creepy movie. Silence of the Lambs seriously scared the hell out of me, probably due to the fact that it’s about the investigation of a transsexual serial killer who murdered fat chicks so that he can sew their skin together and consequentially put on their skin to feel like a “real woman” while he dresses up as a lady and tucks his dick in so that he looks like he has a vagina.
Let’s not forget Hannibal Lecter… I learned what cannibalism was after watching this movie. The words “I ate his liver with some fava beans with some nice Chianti,” kind of don’t settle in your stomach too well either. But in all seriousness this is one of those epic horror movies. It’s also a psychological thriller and I love me a good psychological thriller.
This was the first time I ever watched an Anthony Hopkins movie… that man is mesmerizing. If you can move past the sick and twisted serial killer and the cannibal that is continuously fucking everyone’s shit up and eating them afterwards even when he’s under maximum security, you’ll dig this film. It’s quite spectacular as far as movies go. But if you have a weak stomach I do not recommend it.
I’m not going to say much about The Godfather because I don’t have to. It would be overkill to reiterate how it’s one of the best movies ever made and how it’s one of the most epic trilogies of all time. Pretty much everyone has seen The Godfather or knows about it. I will say this one thing though: if character development is something that you really appreciate in a film, then The Godfather would be one of your favorites. Fucking Al Pacino. He is so damn good. Rugrats did an episode once where Angelica watched The Godfather with her parents one night and then went all Marlon Brando on the babies and watching it now in retrospect is hilarious because as a child you wouldn’t know what the hell they’re doing or talking about.
I’m not going to go on saying why this movie is amazing because it would literally be beating a dead horse with a stick. Or chopping off the horse’s head and having the aforementioned severed head placed in bed with someone who denied a request of The Godfather himself.
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: Movies you may or may not have seen but probably have heard of and are seriously worth watching.
Sometimes I ask people if they’ve ever seen this movie and I’m usually surprised as to how many answers are “no”. If you’ve never seen it, here’s a brief synopsis. You have your standard dysfunctional family in suburban America. Kevin Spacey plays the father, who is depressed and in a mid-life crisis when we find him in the beginning of the film. He is also narrating the story from heaven (we find out he dies in the first 5 seconds of him speaking). Upon laying eyes on his daughter’s best friend (played by Mena Suvari) who he finds himself wildly attracted to, he wakes up and begins to change his life.
The characters are phenomenal and totally fucked up they actually make you feel sort of normal. If you are someone who can handle a heavy film, I highly recommend watching it. If you’re taste in movies runs no deeper than a coy pond, don’t watch it.
Not only a great movie, it is also a pretty awesome read (yes…it was based on a book. Most good movies are).
Brad Pitt in his prime and Ed Norton is just good at pretty much everything he does.
I don’t know HOW some people have never seen Fight Club.
This is short because the first rule of fight club is you do not talk about fight club.
My Cousin Vinny
This is a brilliant comedy; one of my all time favorites. When Bill and Stan (the two wrongly convicted “felons”) are facing execution for the crimes they did not commit they are conveniently able to call in Bill’s lawyer cousin Vinny.
Inconveniently, Vinny is way out of his league, and has no idea what the hell he is doing when he takes on this case. He is also accompanied by his fiancé (played by Marisa Tomei) and the two find themselves entirely displaced in this old school Southern Alabama town.
Marisa Tomei steals the show – Joe Pesci is perfect – this movie is perfect.
Little Miss Sunshine
One of my all time favorites. I don’t know what it is about movies about dysfunctional families but I really just love them.
The characters in this family are out of this world… you have Greg Kinnear playing the lamest dad in America who is failing at selling his system of “self-improvement”. You have Steve Carell playing the suicidal gay uncle who also happens to be a genius scholar. Alan Arkin plays the heroin-addicted and obnoxious as hell grandpa. And you have Abigail Breslin, the endearingly nerdy youngest child who the family supports by getting in their broken VW bus and travelling to California so she can participate in a children’s beauty pageant.
Little Miss Sunshine is simple, exquisite, and heartwarming. I love it… you will too.
As Good As It Gets
You have Jack Nicholson starring in this one; his character Melvin is basically the rudest man to grace the streets of Manhattan (which speaks volumes because NYC is filled with a lot of rude people). He is a writer with OCD and he is just a straight up asshole.
He is infatuated with his regular waitress at the diner, Carol (played by Helen Hunt). He lives next door to a gay artist named Simon (played by Greg Kinnear).
After Simon is tragically attacked and nearly killed, Melvin finds himself held responsible for watching his little dog. Paired with the fact that Carol had to take care of her sick son and can’t wait on him at the diner for a few days, Melvin flips a fucking shit and his OCD world is turned upside down.
It’s really a touching film and if you don’t mind a long movie that will leave you feeling happy inside you will really enjoy this one.
TOTALLY UNDERRATED: Movies you most likely haven’t seen, but you definitely should watch at some point.
I guarantee you’ve never watched this one. It’s an oldie – Ed Norton’s first movie (he’s so young).
Ok – so here’s the deal. You have a stuttering and simple altar boy (Ed Norton) accused of murdering a priest. His lawyer is played by Richard Gere who really seems to have a knack for playing the role of a hotshot lawyer who takes on seemingly pointless and unwinnable cases.
The investigation of the crime and end of this movie will make your jaw drop. It’s so good.
From Dusk Till Dawn
This is a vampire film like no other. It starts out with two criminal brothers played by Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney. They’re busting out of the country after a serious bank robbery and crossing the border to Mexico.
Eventually they take some hostages with them (Harvey Keitel and his son and daughter) and seek refuge at a sketchy bar in Mexico where they have to chill until the morning, when they are all home free. Unfortunately, the place is infested with vampires and they have to literally survive until the morning. This movie is a bloody, ridiculous fucking AWESOME mess. If you’re into blood and guts watch it; if not this isn’t for you.
If you’re into psychological thrillers, consider this one.
It’s about this guy Leonard, who suffers from severe short-term memory loss. He uses notes and tattoos on his body to help himself investigate the murder of his wife.
If that’s not enough for you, then maybe the fact that the story is told backwards will pique your interest.
It’s such a unique film that really keeps you at the edge of your seat.
Big Fish is not your typical Tim Burton film (although there are some weird parts… it wouldn’t be a Burton film otherwise). The story focuses on a dying father (Ed Bloom) and his son (Will Bloom) and their failed relationship. Will feels as though he doesn’t really know his father, because all he has heard is countless stories and myths that don’t exactly add up. The audience is taken on the journey of Ed Bloom (played by Ewan McGregor) as he recounts his own version of his life to his son. This is a great movie, it has a great cast and a wonderful storyline and it’s quite the tearjerker.
Now I’m pretty sure the only people I know who have seen this one are me, my mom and my dad. It’s a Woody Allen film starring Larry David and Evan Rachel Wood and it’s super weird. Whatever Works is about this misanthropic, genius quantum-physicist named Boris (played by Larry David).
For those of you who are unaware of what a misanthrope is, it is an individual who HATES people. So it is rather interesting when Boris develops a very unlikely relationship with Melody (Evan Rachel Wood), a VERY simpleminded young girl who has just come to New York from Mississippi. I know right? What the hell. But it’s a great movie.
And there you have it. If you actually read the whole thing, that’s awesome because this turned out to be way longer than I anticipated. Hopefully next time you want to chill out and watch a movie you take one of these suggestions. If so, let me know how sweet my suggestion was.
1. Pulp Fiction: You Never Can Tell by Chuck Berry
This popular rock and roll number by Chuck Berry is perfect for some crazy-wacky dancing. In Pulp Fiction (1994) Uma Thurman and John Travolta (Mia Wallace and Vincent Vega respectively in the movie) performed for the main prize competition at a story bound restaurant called Jack Rabit Slim’s. This is one of the best dance scenes I’ve ever seen. Now and then I try it out at parties and clubs. It’s a winner!
2. Little Miss Sunshine: Super Freak by Rick James
Super Freak is known as the signature song for Rick James. This kinky number can get you grooving right from the first drum beat. In Little Miss Sunshine (2006) baby Olive Hoover (Abigail Breslin) performs at a little girl’s beauty pageant and kills it with her innocence and raawwwwrrr!!!
The scene showcases the family’s support towards Olive being who she was. Freaky and crazy! Don’t we just love mad families?! Also a good song for couples, if you know what I mean! *wink wink*
3. Risky Business: Old Time Rock And Roll by Bob Seger
Home alone? Take off those pants/skirts. Leave ‘em socks on! It’s time for some good ‘ol shirt and panties rock & roll, Baby! Tom cruise nails it with his groovy rock star moves in the movie Risky Business (1983). You should try it sometime! It’s a mood up lifter.
Well, that covers your stag, couple and outdoor dancing lessons. You are now a trained crazy-ass dancer! You’re very welcome. Go break a leg!
You guys might not know this, but I am the host of an amazing podcast series called “My Totally Real Podcast That Is Real
.” Every episode features amazing guests, twists, turns, and anything else you would expect from a podcast recorded in a real studio with walls. This week, my guest is Elias Tezapsidis, a writer who’s never had sex on a sink.
Laura Jayne Martin: Hi Elias. Welcome to this very real podcast that is not a gchat. Thanks for coming on.
Elias Tezapsidis: Oh my god. I’m so excited. I’ve heard amazing things about this radical concept. Is it as rad as people say?
LJM: Well, it’s pretty popular for a podcast that is definitely real.
Elias: Yes, I saw it on Buzzfeed. LOVE Buzzfeed. What a great site. If it was a humanoid we’d call it a mensch.
LJM: What are the top 25 things you love about Buzzfeed?
Elias: 1. Lists
LJM: Time for my first real question, what’s the sexiest food?
Elias: *trying not to scream avocado* I think I’d probably go with lychee.
LJM: Actually, most fruit is pretty hot.
Elias: Nothing like a bunch of gelatinous lychees on a hot summer day on a Chinatown rooftop while you’re naked—seedy observation.
LJM: Speaking of seedy, what is your favorite room in which to kiss people?
Elias: Anywhere works except the bathroom. I don’t like shower sex.
LJM: What about sink sex? Toilet sex?
Elias: The wetness gets in the texture of skin. Sink sex, I’ve never had. And yeah back to skin, what s your favorite song from Rihanna’s LOUD?
LJM: Probably the one where she vocalizes in the intro.
Elias: Sorry I’m asking the questions. I have an investigatory nature.
LJM: Switching gears, where do you spin?
Elias: SoulCycle is my #1 choice, but also MY HEAD.
LJM: Next question, why do you love Lindsay Lohan, in 4 lines?
Elias: Okay. Snorting the first three. I JUST LIKE THAT SHE S THE INTERNET. Also, I dig that she was queer unapologetically.
LJM: I agree, plus I liked her in Mean Girls.
Elias: She was the first lipstick female person teenage star to not explain her sexuality.
LJM I haven’t researched that.
Elias: She hasn’t done much serious work.
LJM: What about Freaky Friday?
Elias: I don’t like Freaky Friday… she’s too young in it. (for me)
LJM: Since this is an audio podcast, I feel like that was a verbal subtweet.
Elias: It was. Laura, I don’t get why you like Lolitas. It weirds me out.
LJM: This is the thing about me that you choose to be weirded out by?
Elias: I thought I wasn’t supposed to talk about your kegel exercises and stuff.
LJM: You are walking a line thinner than the terrifying women you like to …date.
Elias: They’re only terrifying you because you let them. By that I mean you see their evilness and your fate is doomed.
LJM: How does one avoid that?
Elias: I think I’ll keep dating food.
LJM: It’s probably for the best.
Elias: It’s going very well!
LJM: Is there a Grindr for food?
Elias: Am I supposed to pretend I’m naturally thin and blessed here?
LJM: You are as thin as me. Since this is an audio podcast I will elaborate: I am a thin “woman.”
Elias: OMG Dear listeners, this is where you must know the podcast monster behind this microphone believes in open love. LIKE ACTUALLY. She’s a man I tell you.
LJM: Listeners, I believe in open sex and closed love.
Elias: OMG STOP BEING SUCH A MAN.
LJM: Does that make me a monster?
Elias: Open sex when in closed love?
LJM: Sort of. I think, ideally, if you’re lucky enough to find someone you truly love that it should not prohibit you from having sex with other people. You, much more than me, exist in circles where this is the norm.
Elias: You’re transgressing all norms.
LJM: I think many people believe in those things.
Elias: Yeah, that’s why some of my romantic interests are not interesting me. But as a Taurus, I want stability, a nice home.
LJM: As a Taurus?!
Elias: And above all lots of good food and sex 4 evah.
LJM: I think we can wrap up here. Thanks so much for coming on the podcast, Elias.
Elias: Great. I loved being the lady here. * burps, farts *
LJM: No lady could maintain your jawline and facial hair.