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Many of you have never heard of Dan O’Bannon, but if you’re lucky or have friends with good tastes in sci-fi, you’ve witnessed his work.  Dan was responsible, as co-writer, for the creation of the Alien.  He also wrote and directed the horror/comedy Return of the Living Dead; one of my personal favorites.  “Send more cops.”  He also wrote Lifeforce (How could you not like an early Patrick Stewart movie with a fully naked woman walking around through the entire film.), Total Recall, and Screamers, to name a few.  Among the sci-fi community O’Bannon was an incredible writer; if for nothing else helping to create one of the greatest science fiction creatures ever.  Thank you, Dan for the memorable movies.  

As if news the news of O’Bannon’s passing wasn’t bad enough- Brittany Murphy died suddenly, catching everyone off guard.  I won’t say that I’m a big fan of her work, but I was of decent size.  There was something about watching her in movies that always drew my attention.  I remember the first movie I ever saw her in was Freeway, a movie I thought very little of and only saw once.  Even still, I remember her scene.  I was shocked when I heard that she did her own singing in Happy Feet.  I had no idea she could sing.  She was such a great talent.  For some reason I can’t get that scene from Sin City out of my head.  The one where she’s leaning out the window calling for Clive Owen’s character, with such a longing in her eyes.  “Dwight, you fool.  You damned fool.” 

All of this makes it a little hard for me to do my average blog this week, prattling about my random craziness.  So, let’s switch gears for a minute.  I was thinking the other day, as I am prone to do, about writing.  I believe in challenging myself and pushing my stories to their limits.  I feel that sometimes my stories are too stripped down.  Maybe I need more background and details in my characters a little flourish isn’t a bad thing, right?  But, when is it too much?  A while back I watched the movie Wonder Boys, and felt as if I’d been punched in the chest.  The writing was so dead on.  The characters, the humor, everything felt so well crafted.  They really felt alive.  None of the characters felt superfluous.  Now, on the other hand I’ve read some books- well, attempted to read some books- where there was extra content that was completely unnecessary that it bored me.  Now, I realize that to tell a story not everything has to be paramount to the overall plot, and hat some things just need to be there to flesh out the characters and the world that they live in.  But, when I see a book that is 700 pages long I have to ask myself: Does it really need to be that long?  Sometimes yes.  I recognize that, and depending on the book or story it makes sense.  Other times I look at it and say: They must get paid by the page.  So, the balance is the hard thing.  Which, oddly enough, was what Wonder Boys was about.  When is it enough and when is it too much.  Balance.

So, running behind again, huh?  Yeah, well it’s the holidays.  Even still I’m more on time than an early 90’s Image book.  I hope everyone had a happy holiday, whatever you may have celebrated and are prepared to shed the skin of not only 2009, but the past decade.  I’ll talk to you all again in 2010, where we’ll start this all over again.  This time, let’s try and make it a little better. 

JeraleC

Mindseyechronicles@comcast.net

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