The Good and the Bad

Last week my son, Sawyer, spent twenty of his Christmas dollars on 50 Sci-Fi Classics. By “classic” the compilers of this boxed set did not mean 2001: A Space Odyssey or Star Wars, but The Wild Women of Wongo and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. “We’re going to watch them all,” Sawyer instructed. “And when we’re done, we’re going to celebrate!” So it has begun. The best so far has been Hercules Versus the Moon Men, which Sawyer scored a “4 out of 10.” Prehistoric Women, on the other hand, scored only a “Boring out of 10.” Here’s the thing about movies like this: They’re funny for about ten minutes and then they’re just frustrating and weird.

Weird but instructive. I found myself craving emotional continuity, clear conflict, and more action and less dialogue. “Stop telling me what you’re feeling and just show me!” I heard myself shouting at the TV. It’s nice to be inspired by great works of art, but sometimes I never feel so clearly what it is I want than when I see what I don’t want.

I know that isn’t why the filmmakers made Teenagers from Outer Space or Bride of the Gorilla (starring Raymond Burr!), I know they wanted to entertain me, and I’m sure somewhere someone is or was entertained – but that’s none of my business. My only business is what I like and what I don’t like. That these films reminded me of what I like is all for the good, because I never feel more like myself than when I’m doing what I love.

9781935961994-Perfect_CS.inddWrite Within Yourself: An Author's Companion. "A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.

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