Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Walking Dead Compendium One

I've attempted to write this up sans spoilers, for anyone who hasn't read the book or seen the show and wishes to do so. 

I normally read the book before watching the show/movie, but didn't get around to the graphic novel until watching the first two seasons of the show. And unexpectedly, I found the show to be much better. Don't get me wrong, I reached the end of chapter eight in a semi-state of shock over the events that occurred in the book, which quite obviously carries the same intensity you get out of the show. The characters in the former hook you, get you invested in them, then rip them from your mind in horrific ways.

And yet. While I don't discount that achievement the book makes, I couldn't help thinking the melodrama was a bit overkill the whole way through, and that's where the show outshines the book. It sounds a little contradictory; of course there's drama, the whole premise of this story is a breeding ground for drama. The show succeeds more at keeping it authentic, though, whereas the book seems to enjoy descending into shock for shock's sake, a circus sideshow with a lineup of torture the writers can't wait to put these characters through.

I went into the book knowing it had different characters and plot elements from the show, but I had no idea how drastically the show diverted from it. Different characters die, different ones hook up, etc. Again, I think the show made some good choices in detouring from the book's plot, and I'd be interested in how they came to said creative decisions. Also interested to see how much the show sticks to the book from this point on, given all the Really Messed Up Stuff that goes down in the book.

All that said, read the book. Melodrama, yes, but it will suck you in.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Adventures in Multitasking and Brain Implosions

I'm fairly good at multitasking with my day-to-day tasks, but an obstacle I always seem to run into is submitting work while simultaneously churning out new material. It doesn't make any sense; with poetry, especially, I can usually turn each piece around in a timely fashion, so I don't need the endless hours to edit I might need for a novel or other long manuscript. And yet. I have trouble focusing on writing or editing if I'm in submission mode...which I'm more or less always in.

The only solution I've come up with is to take a week (or some period of time) to knock out a chunk of submissions, then go back to writing. Rinse and repeat. But surely, there's a way for me to rewire my brain to do both at once. Today alone, I did laundry and washed dishes and packed things in boxes, all at the same time, so I'm obviously a superhero in some sense.

Oh, and I hit another obstacle when I go to title poems. Or anything I write. I don't know why this happens, but there are two solutions. I either have someone else name them after I've written them, or I throw some adverbs and fruit words in a hat, blindly choose two, and put them together as a title.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Panic Attack, U.S.A. by Nate Slawson

"Thank the poetry gods that Nate Slawson writes with a hard-on."
- Peter Markus

You almost don't want to say too much about Slawson's work, for fear it'd take away from what his poems accomplish. As Markus makes clear, this book is not lighthearted. It's hard-hitting love confessions in inventive language, and I was struck by the effortless way Slawson gives so many words new purpose and therefore an atomic kind of energy. The whole book might as well be on fire, really.

I wish you'd say
something when I
key your name into
my neck
when I say slow
songs and cherry bombs
like so many teeth
squeezed into the shotgun
of my jaw

These poems are the opposite of flower metaphors and pink love. Read this book.

PLAYING ONE ON TV is "Best Dressed!"

This week, PLAYING ONE ON TV was featured by Sundress on The Wardrobe's Best Dressed. Much excite! Head over to their  blog  to read som...