Tag Archives: movie

characterising real people

Sometimes people ask me about my past and what my family was like growing up and there are very simple ways to describe some of the people from that past.  The best way to describe people I have always found was to think of movies and TV series which might be familiar to the person and tell them exactly how I would portray that person based on characters from them, how in ways they are alike to that character and how in ways that they are not.  I have noticed that people relate better to the concept of using known characters rather than telling them about a fresh real person as their traits, it is a strange thing to me.

I am going to discuss today how I would portray my parents and myself and Paul as parents based on known television characters.  I will also tell you how Henry portrays me himself, because it is very interesting to look at other viewpoints rather than always concentrating on the bias opinion – mine.

First up is me, I like to think of myself as this kind of mother…

  1. Daniel Hilliard from Mrs Doubtfire and yes, I know this first one is not a female character, it is male, but I don’t think the media portrays mums as fun and flimsy like they do some dad characters and there are mums like him in the world, I know, I believe I am one of them!  I believe it because I am the kind of mother who would throw a party for Henry just for the sake of it; For example, we are planning that the next time we get any spare money to throw an unbirthday Alice in Wonderland themed party for Henry around late autumn some time, not sure if it will be this year, but it is on the cards and we have been making lists for it! I throw caution to the wind if it means fun and making that child happy!  I would indeed hire a city zoo to come onto my property on his birthday if I had the money.  I am very well-known as well to forget the bedtime regime entirely by two hours because we are having too much fun together.  Some people will call this irresponsible; I call it creating happy memories!
  2. Kirsty Allsop, I know she isn’t a character, she is a real life person herself, but to me that counts. I am a very creative person who loves nothing better than to just simply make things, just because.  Anything from homemade felt making to sugar craft animals, sewing, knitting and more.  I am also addicted to carboot sales, markets and country fairs.  Every special occasion deserves new handmade decorations and baked from scratch goods and this is something Henry and I try to do on my good days.  Any reason whatsoever to make crafts, bake cakes or trying new recipes and yes, my Henry will sit down and embroider and knit with me, he loves it and often insists we do it!  We often invent our own board games too.  We once created a Harry Potter board game based on the spells from the movies and made a good game out of it – Henry wants us to sell it, but I said we can’t because of copyright issues.  We also have a different version of beetle we play, it is teddy bears.
  3. Third person I would consider myself to be perhaps, Aunt Adelaide from Nanny McPhee. I can be very (in some people’s opinions) too strict about certain rules of etiquette and traditions.  There is a certain manner people must uphold and if my child is slack there are usually ramifications and readjustments!  I am a stickler for pronunciation which is similar to Aunt Adelaide and I am also country hardy and so you can imagine how it drives me around the twist being in bed so much and ill.  I would never call myself posh and I am not too bothered by loose vowels as she would call it, but I do get rather irked if water and other mispronounced words are misused.  Henry deliberately mispronounced words because he likes riling me up a lot!  He will purposely over emphasise war-ah when he asks for water and if he is not doing that, then he is licking his knife and using the knife as a spoon.

Henry views me differently but not much.  He believes I am like these characters…

 

  1. Mrs Mason from Grandpa in my pocket, a mother who is always starting a new hobby, a new language lesson, a new craft project and so forth and a mother who always smiles even when she is in pain and poorly.
  2. He believes I am also like Mary Berry, a mother who bakes nice things occasionally, speaks well, dresses nicely and is glamorous and friendly.
  3. He also thinks I am a lot like Rosemary Shrager, a country woman who cooks, talks nicely, a little on the large side and tolerates no funny business! He also believes she is a traditional lady who tries to uphold traditions as much as possible; he enjoys watching both her and Mary.  Upon reflection I suppose I am like Rosemary Shrager because I like countryside living, I am often abrupt and assertive and quite aggressive in the kitchen and just like Rosemary I will sometimes gesticulate with the knife I am using which often worries people!  Paul would even add I am a lot like Fanny Cradock in the kitchen too!  I am quite proud of that actually because I would love nothing better than to be an amalgam of Fanny Cradock, Penelope Keith and Rosemary Shrager. 

I can almost hear my grandmother saying “Hoity Toity” in the background at this confession.

How I view Paul as a father. 

  1. A Ray Mears sort of person, he often takes Henry on long walks and discusses certain survival techniques and so forth, what wild things are to eat, such as identifying dock and complaining about the rubbish he finds in hedge groves, teaching (and rightfully so) about being environmentally aware, how rubbish harms nature and us and how it is all a big cycle.
  2. He is also a lot like Gordon Ramsey; as much as he would hate me say it. No, Paul doesn’t swear at all, never heard him do it – but what is similar in my opinion is how he spends time teaching Henry how to cook and will often teach Henry how to complain about things when he is out and about to get things done or corrected.  He doesn’t like being taken advantage of when money is concerned and Paul is a very health and safety conscious person who will complain if he feels a company has something about them which is unsafe to the public, Paul has earned a lot of local respect for this.
  3. Despite the walks and the cooking and moral lessons, there is also a lot of Abraham Simpson in him too. Grandpa Simpson from the Simpsons, I say this only because Paul can be overly critical with Henry, often ignores the best things about Henry and because he is too busy with chores and caring for me, Henry can sometimes get side-lined and doesn’t get to have too much personal time with Paul outside of the kitchen and walks.  He complains a lot about most things too. In general.

How I view my own mother as characters.

  1. She is very much like two similar characters in one, Carrie’s mother from the novel Carrie by Stephen King and The mother from The People under the Stairs. My mother uses religion to justify how she treats me.  She gets very aggressive about her religion a lot of the time and talking about her roots.  (I suppose it is because she really does believe she lives in sin because she is the result of a mixed religion marriage).  My mother’s ancestry on her side alone means she is born of three religions.  My grandfather was considered a sinner by the catholic school he went to, because his mother was Jewish and converted to Catholicism when she married my great grandfather.  My grandfather from this marriage married an Anglican Christian to make matters worse and my mother often spoke of how the church viewed the family.  Because of the mix of religions in my family, I often asked questions which apparently I shouldn’t have.  For example, why do you hate and blame the Jews for killing Jesus when Jesus himself was a Jew?  I never got a proper answer only that it is absolutely correct that they killed Jesus and my questions could send forth the wrath of God and I was told to shut up lest I curse the house we are in with Gods temper.  Social isolation was also another factor, though not as severe as Alice from People under the stairs, but it was still very difficult to live shut away a lot of the time.  Ironically in the past few months, I have shut myself away because of illness; I just can’t even get downstairs these days let alone go out and to think, I ran away from my mother aged 27yrs to get a life and socialise only for fate to be as cruel as her and make me bedbound.  She is also a closet/hypocritical racist, I say hypocritical because she will socialise with other races but behind closed doors she is vicious in her criticisms of them and their races.  Which again is hypocrisy as I found out last year that my great grandmothers, grandmother from 1840 was an American mixed race black/white lady from Boston from nans side of the family.  Nan had always said we aren’t all as white as we seem, I haven’t found the evidence of the Hindu great grandfather yet though, like Nan claimed we have. 
  2. Second character she is like is Jane Fonda from Monster in Law.  She really does struggle giving any of her children, to another person that they may love.  She does everything in her power to stop them from creating and maintaining a relationship.  She isn’t like this with Robbie because when a relationship broke down when he was very young he was extremely distressed and Robbie being her favourite child, she couldn’t cope with that, but to hell with the rest of us.  Robbie has to be happy, us others however, well, not unless she agrees first and my mother has always let it be known to me, she will never agree to any relationship that I want and any grandchildren I may give her are unwanted because she feels that I am a foolish person to have children as they will ruin my life!  So that’s what she thinks about us deep down huh?  Yes, people have seen my mother supposedly dolt on Henry and spoil him when he was born, but it wasn’t without its venom behind closed doors with me.  The things she said were evil, such as when I said I am too sick to have more children she practically threw a party and said great, I don’t want you having more, I hope you do have that problem!  When I announced my pregnancy with Henry, my dad congratulated us happily and he was admonished by her and she turned to me and called me a stupid girl and gave me a long rant about how much I have damaged any future I may want.  She often opened cupboards to accidentally on purpose hurt Paul in the early days of our relationship and tried to scare him and several other boyfriends before him off by mentioning the time I was in a children’s asylum failing by the way, to tell them she was the reason I was in it.
  3. The next character is another male character which really does represent my mother a lot and that is Robert De Niro in Meet the parents. She would stalk and investigate anyone in my life, she must approve of anyone in my life for any relationship to work and she will send spies (friends) to watch where I go occasionally.  She would also text me around 30 times a day if I am out all day.  She has even lied to people who regard her highly in order to bring me back into submission to her, by claiming all sorts of outlandish things about me in order to get them to go and do her dirty work and go and fetch me or watch me or have long discussions about how I am making her ill with worry.  She also will take anyone aside, a platonic friend or a boyfriend and talk in private with them without me hearing a thing.  Often I find out they are threats, warnings and so forth or little snippets of information she is passing to them about my mental problems as she would refer to them as.  She would also remind them of how many brothers and close male cousins I have and how they don’t like anyone upsetting the family.

How I view my father.

  1. He is a very shy and quiet country sort of person. Very much like a more obedient and housebound Howard from Last of the Summer Wine.  He is despite how he comes across very nervous of my mother and displeasing her.  I remember times when he was sent on an errand to buy groceries or a take away without her accompanying him and I would go with him to help him as sometimes he would get nervous and forget things, that if the shop didn’t have what she wanted or the take away was closed at that specific time; my poor dad would literally be on the verge of tears and would often say to me he doesn’t know what to do as she will be upset if he doesn’t go home with it.  Paul has also witnessed this behaviour.  My dad cooks, gardens and cleans much more than is traditional for a man to do so and I remember often that if he didn’t do it on time, mum would remind him that she doesn’t have to keep him and he would get scared and get up and do it immediately.
  2. Despite this my father is also a bit of a Victor Meldrew. He complains a lot about things but I often believe it is because it is something he thinks my mother would like to hear, she is an avid complainer.  Because when she isn’t around he is quite a cheerful tolerant person.  He is also extremely nosy about the neighbourhood and any gossip going around and often worries about anything negative he has heard that has gone on locally.
  3. He also reminds me of Travers Goff from Saving Mr Banks. He was a daydreamer and often liked to play with me imaginatively, we would re-enact our favourite stories, rhymes and television shows and it would be very realistic.  My father loved comedy and often had a comical stance to most games we played.  He often recited funny limericks and songs which are mostly for an adult audience but it made me laugh none-the-less.  He could sometimes be over the top playful and often had to be calmed down by the energy sapping atmosphere of my mother and her harsh words.  He was also a betting man and a man who loved the countryside a lot that he often dreamt of going rural again someday, but my mother would never hear of it.

 

This is how I view myself, Paul and my parents by using character descriptions.  I know there will be a handful of people reading this which will not approve, but it is my opinion of what I believe these people are like and I don’t have to ask your permission to verbalise anything anymore.  It is my truth and that is all that matters.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Getting to know me

Writers and non-writers

A lot of non-writing people think that when you say you are a writer you have had books published and you are successful and have a lot of money or you are a social recluse.

They imagine that I sit for three hours a day or more just tapping away from beginning to end the same novel day in and day out until it is finished and then post it to the nearest publisher and within a week or two I get a phone call about how great the novel is and how I should expect to join some top celebrity at some award ceremony somewhere and become a millionaire within a year. 

But this couldn’t be further from the truth unfortunately.

For me, writing is mostly planning, writing short snippets that doesn’t go anywhere and redoing work I have already done.  I don’t follow a set pattern to my work as my brain (as well as most other writers I know) doesn’t have an organised brain like that.  Also quite a lot of my time as a writer is spent imagining things freely without writing, because the thoughts sometimes come too fast that I simply cannot type or write fast enough!

I will think about my vampires one minute and do a paragraph there, then I am onto the mermaid story and do a few lines there, then my brain will give me an altogether different idea and I have to write three or four pages of the proposed plot down immediately before I forget it, then I have to edit the three chapters I finished last week as I felt in the mood for it.  That is the life of a writer – me!

A majority of my work will never see the light of day because I worry about its content.  Is it too violent?  Are the sexual scenes too graphic?  Is this touching a socially taboo area?  But I don’t stop writing them because it is a part of who I am, but it does mean that the public will never get the full and raw me and I don’t think that society ever does get that from any author anyway.

People who don’t write don’t understand that there is much more to writing than that and for a lot of people who do write, it is never about the money and it is never about the fame.  Take me for example; what spurs me on to write?  Originally what spurred me onto writing was the fact I enjoyed it too much not to do it – the second reason was that I hoped my stories would become movies.  I really do still hope for the latter.  But it is not a realistic dream yet.

I don’t intend to be a scriptwriter, which makes it all the more difficult.  I don’t like the idea of my privacy being invaded when I am out shopping as I can often suffer from anxieties in new places and having a famous face someday will just add to the stress for me.  But despite this, I love people and making them happy.  I wouldn’t be human if I said, I don’t want the money – but being rich from writing is also not realistic.

Which begs a question as to why I do it then?

I do it for the love of writing and the love of play.  I am a very playful and imaginative person who constantly lives in hope that there is always something better than this.  I believe if you don’t like to play and you find writing hard work and you want the money and the fame and you don’t believe there is something better than this then you are wasting your time.

I love entertaining people, I love being a hostess, I love sharing ideas with people, I am very much a people person by my very nature.  I have often thought about becoming a life coach or a creativity coach as a lot of people who know me describe me as a very motivating bubbly and uplifting person.  I don’t see why though.  Because to me I am a very pragmatic and often sharp person with people, particularly those I find who are ignorant and arrogant or both. 

Despite dreading fame for the having my face noticed in public and despite the fact that becoming famous through writing is probably a pipe dream, I do still fantasize about how happy I would be seeing how happy and excited strangers will be whenever they see me around.  But it scares me witless too, what lengths would some people go to in order to be near me?  It terrifies me.  But I am more than happy to be polite and friendly to any who come near and by me, entertain them as much as I can but I would just want to get on with my life, do the shopping, and spend time with my family out and about without such concerns.  I suppose I get the fear of the behaviour of fans from my mother, because my mother is the sort of fan who screams and charges at celebrities whenever she sees them – I couldn’t cope with that as I am a naturally jumpy person.

So instead of worrying about the good and the bad, I have decided to just let life happen to me.  If the universe thinks I should have that kind of life, let it happen and hope it’s all good.  Maybe I will somehow be protected from all that fuss – who knows?  All I want to do is write, entertain and have my brain poured out onto the TV screen eventually as good movies.  That’s all I really want.  If I was rich enough I would probably produce movies instead of books, not that it would be any faster quite the contrary, but the notion of working with a large team of people playing with the same dream would be absolutely fantastic.

Besides, with the people I am related to, doing this is in my blood by all accounts and I should fine fitting in with playful, imaginative people in that setting like a glove.  Let’s hope gran was right. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under About my work

A monster calls (a non-review)

Last night I finished a book called “A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness, I won’t say this is a review per se because it really isn’t – but I would say it is more of a little chat about the characters. 

I felt that this book was a huge tear jerker, it certainly got my eyes watering in parts – as for the monster, well to me the monsters in this book aren’t what you think they are, I think this book has a moral and that is “not everything is as it seems and don’t judge a book by its cover” you will misinterpret at the very beginning who the monster/monsters are, trust me, you will only find out in the ending chapters the truth of who the monster really is.

Because it is a twisty turning fabulous book, I won’t give you any spoilers other than what I have already said. 

Now, about the characters, the main character is a boy named Conor who is going through a huge amount of trauma at the age of thirteen – but I am more interested in mentioning the supposed monster that comes to visit him at 12:07 every night – why skip the main character?  Because he is just a human boy going through a bad time and I am more interested in the fantasy aspect of this book rather than the realism of it.  The so-called monster is nothing more than a big brash ancient yew tree that comes alive like an ent from middle-earth to basically have a chat with the young boy and tell him a few stories.  I loved this about the book because in the past ten years I have thought off and on about writing a novel about a tree that comes to life as well based on the Germanic folklore of the wood wives, the wood wives according to legend are beautiful female spirits of the forest who are also vampiric, basically vampiric faeries who turn into trees and bring trees to life amongst other things;  I am also interested in the yew tree because it is very similar to the avenging birch tree from the short movie “The Birch” which again I believe could have been inspired by the ancient Germanic legend, the wood wives. 

So if avenging wrathful trees are your thing, you know what to look out for.  I got this book from the library but I have bought a copy along with the DVD from Ebay because I just find it absolutely fabulous!  The movie stars Liam Neeson and Sigourney Weaver.

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under reviews

Rediscovering Vampires

I love fantasy and yes, there are many popular fantasy TV series and books I have never ever experienced in any format; they include ‘The Game of Thrones’, ‘Season two of Once Upon a Time’, ‘Grimm’, ‘Star Wars’, ‘The Shannara Chronicles’, ‘Supernatural’, ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and episode four and beyond of ‘The 100’ to name but a few of those missed experiences.

Along with those television series there are several books I have never read too and they are; all the above that have novelizations.  Book four and beyond of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ series of books, the third book and beyond of Anne Rice’s ‘Vampire Chronicles’, ‘The DragonLance Series’ and ‘Goosebumps’ to name but a few there too.

Now, I am currently trying to make amends for all of that.  I am currently re-reading the first book of ‘The Vampire Chronicles’ by Anne Rice with the aim to read right through all the chronicles by this time next year – next week this will be put on hold right after I have finished ‘Interview with a vampire’ because I have ordered from my local library a trilogy from Michael Moorcock ‘The Eternal Champion’ because I am curious about a symbol I am rather fond of which apparently originates from these novels.

I am also watching some of the above mentioned television series, back to back, one to three per night – the ones I have started with is the box-set I have bought of ‘The Vampire Diaries’.  You are probably wondering why I have bought something that expensive if I have never watched one of the episodes first.  Well, it’s about vampires; I know I will love it.  Its touch and go in regards to Twilight but I guess because it has vampires I might find it tolerable, who knows… Twilight is another vampire movie I have never watched and I am a die-hard vampire fan, go figure.  Well I was too busy to keep up to date with my vampires for about a decade, so I am forgiven right?

The vampire Diaries has me hooked by the way; I have watched five episodes this week so far.  I am scrutinising the whole thing because I specialise in vampires in my novels and I don’t want to clash too much with anyone and I was nervous at first because something in the vampire diaries has clashed with my novels (the corvid) and the fact that a few of my vampires have the ability to roam the day too.

I am also hooked because Damon gets my hormones going… but let’s not talk about that, we’re talking about vampires in general and fantasy, not my hormones on some women’s health site. 

So, yes, I am happy to find that this series hasn’t brutalised vampires too much for me like True Blood has, I feel True Blood went too far in de-romanticising vampires.  I was distraught about that.  In the True Blood series you couldn’t tell the vampires apart from anything you see in a normal human to human slasher movie, werewolf movie or zombie movie, vampires in my opinion are much more far removed than those other movie types and I found it hard to chew.

Although being a horror fan I did love the brutality, but I was too angry that it was caused by vampires drunk on blood, dripping with blood and acting like psychotic corpses.  A lot of people will argue with me that vampires are just that ‘psychotic corpses’ but I will deny that is what vampires are, vampires to me, love very deeply and have a gentle demeanour about them, they are not rabid animals.

So, yes, I am returning to vampires.  I am returning to my love for them and with this reunion come rediscovering my hidden identity again.  I feel like I am filling up the hollowness in me and I am feeling more like who I was meant to be, rather than some obscure faint shadow.

I don’t do short stories of vampires unfortunately.  I linger too much on my vampire novels that I am ashamed to say they are epic sized.  I can’t stop adding things to them.  I think ‘War and Peace’ will have nothing on one of my vampire stories.

So that’s it for today, more to come tomorrow. 

Thank you for reading and do post a comment below. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under About my work

Henry’s take on Dr Strange

My son is getting quite excited about a new movie coming out called ‘Dr Strange’ he is a huge Marvel fan.  I was shocked to discover that Benedict Cumberbatch will be taking the lead role, because I would have thought he’d be too busy for it, but also thrilled at the same time, he is a very talented actor.

He is looking forward to the prospect that other characters from Marvel will be having their own movies in the future that would be suitable for his age; he is six years old.  He wants Elektra, Blade and Dr Octopus.

I will say however, he has never seen Elektra or Blade the current movies, but he knows them from his Trump card collection.  He also knows Elektra from DareDevil the movie, which he watched only last week.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under reviews

Should I make my vampires sleep?

I have had a passion for vampires since I first watched “The Twins of Evil” when I was six years old and by the time I was nine years of age I wanted to write about them.  From the age of eleven I became what I thought was “A Goth”, though not entirely serious, I allowed my mother to dictate to me a lot on how I should portray myself to the world, but in my eye at the time, black slacks and a black polo-neck would suffice for the tag, with black shoes.  I wanted to wear black gypsy skirts but my mother insisted that with my size (as I was very overweight when I lived with her) I looked like I was wearing a tent and so, I didn’t have the confidence to wear them.

The passion I have for vampires is so deep, that it is a strong part of who I am.  When I haven’t read a book about vampires, researched them or watched a movie with them in it for a while, I start to feel a deep hole inside of me.  This hole swallows me up, makes me moody, makes me depressed and ultimately makes me feel alone.  Because I am alone, in regards to this passion for vampires, I know nobody who is in regular physical contact with me, who has the same passion.  A lot of people I know merely tolerate that this obsession is a part of me. 

The people I have who are my friends and are Gothic, weirdly enough do not share the same concept about vampires as I do and nor do they view being Gothic in the same light as me either.  Whenever I talk about vampires to another fan of vampires or Gothic culture online, I come up against a brick wall.  A wall of which I find sleazy and corny, yet despite saying this, I am not the old school romanticist that I’ve often been accused of being!

In my opinion the last decade of vampire movies has either become too soft that it’s another version of “My Little Pony” or too vicious that it makes me think that the so-called vampires in the movie are just another type of vicious intelligent zombies.

Since I was nine years old, I have been writing an extensive series based on vampires, complete with an encyclopaedia about the mythos.  I say series, yet I really mean saga.

There are over 70 stories in this series and I have never once approached a publisher about them and nor do I feel ready.  Not with my vampires, I am very protective of my vampires.  Yet when I have discussed my stories with close vampire loving online friends and gothic culture dudes and dudettes, I have been told that my ideas are too old fashioned and romantic.  That the days of the aristocratic vampires are numbered and this pains me.  I have been told that despite the fact I know the market of vampires really well, I have failed to understand how they have evolved within the media and how the new style of vampires are what publishers and producers want more of.  So therefore, I feel I would waste mine and the publisher’s time in even approaching them.

I spend two thirds of my serious writing time on my vampires.  The rest of my fiction, poetry and songs are left on hold.  This is why I sometimes think that I will never get published, because I won’t put my vampires to sleep.

Because I won’t put my vampires to sleep, I neglect my other stories, I neglect this blog, which is why I have made a difficult decision to try and talk about my vampires in new posts in the future, or vampires in general.

If you would like to discuss with me what you like about vampires, or tell me what you expect from vampires, I would like to hear your thoughts. 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Short Story Series

The Watch

I do not claim any rights to this image.

What fantasy fan would be complete without venturing into the genres of science fiction, comedy and horror occasionally?
As a Ben Stiller fan, I wasn’t too disappointed with this movie although it’s not his finest moment, but it was very funny nonetheless. Ben Stiller’s character Evan is the solid citizen of a small town in Ohio. Evan worked as the manager of Costco supermarket and one of his employees got murdered mysteriously one night whilst on security duty. Evan being very close to his employees felt that he must do something about it, so he sets up a neighbourhood watch group with which only three other local men became a member (all oddballs in some way or other).
Things turned out pretty strange for Evan and his group members as they accidentally ran something gooey over, they found a strange metallic sphere and took it home with them having no inclination that it was other worldly.
Strange people start entering the groups lives, particularly Bob’s daughters life and things get out of hand – alien sightings happen, more murders and the group becomes more and more determined to make the town safe.
The movie isn’t without its drama and ups and downs despite it being mostly a comedy, foul language rages rampant in this movie with plenty of sexual innuendos, a mass alien shoot up and twists in the plot.
By and large it was a good, if somewhat weird movie that had a very “scary movie” feel to it.

Leave a comment

Filed under reviews

The facts in the case of the departure of Miss Finch by Neil Gaiman

The facts in the case of the departure of Miss Finch by Neil Gaiman

“The facts in the case of the departure of Miss Finch” was familiar to me in the sense that the scenery set was very alike to an old Hammer Horror movie I am very fond of called “The Vampire Circus”; though I am not suggesting that this story is a breach of copy-right, merely that the scenery was similar, for example; the movie was about a vampire count who fell in love with a local school-teacher and got her delivering her young pupils occasionally for his dietary needs, eventually she was discovered by her husband delivering a child and the vampire executed in the usual fashion and the woman outcast from the village. She was told formerly by the count that if they were ever discovered that she could contact a cousin of his on the other side of the country who were a traveling night time circus that advertises mesmerism; during the killing of the count, the count had threatened the lynch mob that if he should die, then so should all the children of the village. Many years past and the traveling night circus came and sought revenge for their cousin in the most innovative ways imaginable.

Some of their first victims were visitors of the circus; they entered a tent where they saw various acts and a hall of mirrors only for them never to return to their families alive. Though primarily the movie was about the circus seeking revenge, most of the other victims were seduced into giving up their lives, it was the burgomaster that died in the tent under suspicious circumstances; but because he was so incredibly fat, people presumed the fun and laughter of the hall of mirrors had caused him to succumb to a heart attack.

Similar acts happened in Neil Gaiman’s story, very captivating in more ways than one and a delight for me to read, particularly as not only was it so very similar to my most favorite Hammer Horror movie, but it was also read within a week of me finishing “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern and “Emerald Star” by Jacqueline Wilson, which oddly enough have mesmerism and circus’s in their themes too – reading all was a fluke.

I do love stories that have carnival and circus themes to them, another story I read months before I read this Neil Gaiman classic was “The man in the picture” by Susan Hill.

Leave a comment

Filed under My inspirations

The man in the picture by Susan Hill

The man in the picture by Susan Hill

As a lover of anything to do with carnivals, masquerades, festivals, harlequins and circus’s as well as plunging into the depths of horror stories and movies, I found this novel absolute pleasure. Never before had I ever read a whole novel in one sitting, taking just 90 minutes, I was heavily pregnant with my first born son and it was just after 1am when I started, I thought I would only read a few pages before falling asleep, but I couldn’t, I just could not put the book down, it was like I was under some kind of spell.
It is an addictive read, I want more books of this kind and I have found myself looking subconsciously for stories of a similar theme over the past five years, never finding anything as compelling or as long as this masterpiece and I must say that is disappointing.
I both love and hate books that compel me so.
At first glance it would seem familiar in a Dorian Grey kind of way, but it isn’t – it is like a ghost story, but that’s not quite right either, the plot is simple, but fantastic. I am surprised it isn’t more widely known; I am surprised that Susan Hill fans have never made much of a scene of this novel as they have with “I’m the king of the castle” or “The woman in black”, but then that is hardly surprising as I rarely see this book on shelves in libraries or stores.
I think it should someday become known as a classic horror story, though its elusiveness to the public may be a detriment for that to become so.

Leave a comment

Filed under My inspirations

Smoke & Mirrors by Neil Gaiman

I read this book in January 2013; I still remember some of the stories as clear as day.  I felt it would be good to put up previously read works on this site, because I don’t read enough fiction regularly to sustain this part of the blog, I mostly read non-fiction works based on social history, religion, the occult, psychology, true stories and biographies.

For those of you who have never read Neil Gaiman or know about the book “Smoke and Mirrors” it is an anthology of fantasy, horror and dark fantasy short stories and in my opinion, prose. 

Anyway, first up is “the wedding present” I don’t remember much about this story at all, other than I remember disliking it, but I can’t remember why.  I do plan to re-read this book at the end of this year for revising what I think is good and bad about it all, as I am trying to teach myself how to read critically, so re-reading this story will help me remember why I didn’t like it.

The next story I liked, it was humorous, “chivalry” A little old lady goes into a charity shop and buys a chalice and she is soon pestered by a time traveling knight who declares the chalice is rather special and tries to get it off her for several weeks, she eventually relents with a surprising ending.

“Nicholas Was” is next, a very short story, or was it really prose?  I don’t know what it was, but I do remember it, and it was confusing, although I did like the imagery it portrayed.

“The Price” oh my goodness was that a scary tale, I felt like crying for the cat.  I think the cat was based on some kind of protective angel, but that’s well hidden in the story if that’s what the cat was.  A brilliant tale, loved it, and I loved the audio of it too which is free and can be found at this website www.neilgaiman.co.uk/smokeandmirrors/audio

Another of my favorite was “Troll Bridge” I think almost every fantasy writer has written their own variation of this story at some point; I know Terry Pratchett has, although I’ve never read that one yet.  Neil Gaiman’s Troll Bridge was in my opinion, unique; I found it really thoughtful and inspiring.  I sometimes hoped that I could crawl under such bridge and make a deal like that, but would I really want to?  Who knows…?

“Don’t ask Jack” bought back nightmares of my childhood, that’s all I am going to say about this story.  I don’t like remembering it, to be honest.  In fact, I wasn’t comfortable with the story so much, I had to put the book down for two months before I could read the story that came after it, and that was because I forgot the previous tale. 

“The goldfish pool and other stories” Brilliant, I was so happy I picked this book up again after abandoning it, this was a great story, touching, haunting, fantastic.  I was really upset it was a short story; I could have read hundreds of pages of this work easily. 

“Eaten” I don’t remember this story either and I can’t remember if I liked it or not – sorry.

Again, one I loved “The white road” the imagery in my head was so lucid, I adored that.  I tend to think of actors or people I know when I read books and I was seeing actors and actresses from “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “The Aristocrats” TV mini-series in 1999 one actor in particular was actually playing a Mr Fox, Alun Armstrong, he was playing Mr Fox in my mind when reading this story and the girl was a blond haired Winona Ryder for some reason.  The other actors and actresses from those movies and series that I was seeing in my head were there purely as spectators of the revelation that was being said between Mr Fox and the girl.

I was a wonderful story; I loved it, such passion and a delight to read, but am I being too bold? Ha-ha.

“Queen of knives” and “The case of the departure of Miss Finch” other delightful reads.  I loved them, they reminded me of one of my favorite Hammer horrors, “The Vampire Circus”, and they also had a similar air to “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern.  I too, almost wrote a book similar to all four of these examples when I was fifteen years old.  A story based around a circus of the night, traveling vampire gypsies picking off locals at their stops, turning some, training some, it was a good idea I thought, but at the time I was going through a turmoil.  My brother had friends in publishing, they were at his house having a dinner party and I was also invited, they asked to view my work so arranged another dinner with my brother and I gave them some of my work, unfortunately I never got them back and they plagiarized my work, unfortunately still, I had no proof they did this because when I lost my completed work I lost heart in re-writing it all and burned the notes I had gathered over the two years it took me to complete it. So basically they got off Scot free and I’ve nothing to prove in court, so my loss I suppose.  My brother also worked behind the scenes of major film companies, so needless to say they did make a movie out of what I wrote, but made minor alterations, I won’t mention the movie here or the people, because I don’t like making a fuss, especially when I cannot offer proof.  The story was different to my gypsy vampire idea, but was vampire themed nonetheless, just this was the point of no return for me until I reached twenty one and had confidence in writing again, by this time I had forgot the idea, I only remembered the idea after reading those stories.

“Changes” I don’t remember this story either regrettably.

“The daughter of owls” now that was a beautiful fairy-tale in my opinion. 

“Shoggoth’s old peculiar” made me smile because it made me think he based the story on my family, who live on the edge of the Welsh and English border, they run a pub which resembles an eighteenth century tavern and I’m sorry to say they have toad-like faces and an old fashion air about them.  They are constantly cribbing about hiking tourists in their area, particularly Americans, which made this story feel it was made especially for me.  Obviously it wasn’t, Neil Gaiman doesn’t know me from Adam, but still, it felt special.

“Virus” I didn’t like either.

“Looking for the girl” I disliked too.  Reminded me a little bit of one of my exes, made me feel this story was based on his future life.

“Only the end of the world again” I liked, was it a sequel to one of the above stories I wondered?  Or more than one – I sense an air of “Shoggoth’s old peculiar” but also “the white road”.  I loved the combination if I am right, it worked amazingly well.

I think the “Bay wolf” is also like the above review, though I am confused, because I am trying to remember all the stories from only four months back and it’s difficult, particularly as I am writing this review on a day that my headaches are mild and wondering whether or not they should get worse and become the usual migraines.

“Fifteen painted cards from a vampire tarot” was also good, many stories in one.  Again, this was something I was thinking about writing as an inclusion to my traveling vampire gypsies when I was a teenager, another reason was because an old horror movie with Donald Sutherland inspired me a few years previous called “Dr Terror House of Horrors”. 

“We can get them for you wholesale” was both hilarious and bleak; I never laughed out as loud as I did when reading this story.  I truly recommend it for people who have a sick sense of humor like me!

“One Life, Furnished in Early Moorcock” and “Cold Colours” I don’t remember these stories either unfortunately.

“The sweeper of dreams” was also beautifully written and after reading it, knowing I’ve ignored my love for writing for almost two years solid, I began to wonder if the sweeper of dreams came and visited me and stole my muse away or not?  But obviously it hadn’t, because I’ve started to write again, though, this time, my muse focuses mostly on poetry, not stories, like before.

I despised “Foreign Parts” it’s really not my kind of story at all. 

“Vampire Sestina” was brilliant and again, too short.

“Mouse” I couldn’t remember much about mouse either.

“The sea change” was a good read too, for what I remember and that’s not quite much at all, ha-ha.

“How do you think it feels” I liked the story and I hoped for more, but no.  Sometimes I think Neil Gaiman lacks the confidence to make some of his short stories into novels, it’s like he doesn’t believe in them so he makes them short but sweet.

“When we went to see the end of the world” that was a confusing read.

“Desert Wind” was nice.

I don’t remember “tastings” either.

“In the end” now that was very thought provoking and again, made me pause on the book for a fortnight whilst I thought things through and read “Enoch” and a few other non-fiction stories, for absolutely no other reason than to try and confirm my own beliefs in some strange inane kind of way.

“Babycakes” the title attracted me because when I was in college a friend of mine thought it would be good to have a name for each other, a pet name, so she came up with the name “Babycakes” I was baby and she was cakes.  She called me baby because I lacked experience of the world and she felt very motherly towards me.  Regrettably, the story isn’t as sweet as the one I just said above about me and my friend; it’s haunting in a bad way, terrifying because that could become a truth and I felt bad that I had read it, like it’s shameful.

“Murder mysteries” was beautiful, I liked the story outline.

Now, here comes my favorite story of the entire book “Snow, glass, apples” Neil Gaiman’s take on Snow White and it’s wonderful.  Unique, tragic, he saw what I saw in the story, not a victim but a spoiled dangerous little brat, that’s what I’ve always seen snow white as, but oh, it’s wonderful how he mingled this story with vampirism and victimization of the queen.  A pure work of genius!

This book was 50/50 in my opinion, 50% bad and 50% good, but the good bits are excellent, they are unique and imaginative and I love them, they inspire me to write my own stuff.

Thank you Neil Gaiman!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under reviews