Saturday, September 29, 2012

A pet peeve about movie soundtracks

Recently, the Colony Theater, an arthouse cinema I quite like, showed as part of its Music at the Movies series a wonderful film, High Fidelity, that has a great soundtrack.  From the first time I saw it in theaters on its theatrical release to this latest viewing, I've wanted to listen to every song the cast plays or mentions.  Fulfilling that desire should be easy:  I should just have to buy the soundtrack.

The problem is, the soundtrack is far from complete.

I want all studios to offer complete soundtracks for all films.

I understand that for some movies, such as High Fidelity, the only way to do that is with a huge, multi-disc set.  I'm fine with that.  I will pay happily to hear all the music in full.

Instead, to get the same effect, I would have to do Web research, assemble a playlist, buy all the albums involved (though admittedly I have most of them), and then finally listen.  I never get around to doing that. 

Come on, studios:  Give us complete soundtracks!

Friday, September 28, 2012

It's not your fault

I email and talk with a lot of people who, like me, are survivors of various forms of abuse and assault. Some, like me, survived childhood beatings, usually lots of them, by adults charged with their care.  Others survived rape, often in childhood by their fathers.

All of them--all of us--grapple with a world that doesn't want to hear their stories, because as long as we don't talk, others can pretend there is no problem.  All of us grapple with variations on guilt:  Why me?  What did I do to deserve this?

I have no answers for most of the complex issues we all face, but I can answer these issues of guilt.  The answer is simple:  It's not your fault.

It's not your fault.

Resolutions are almost never as simple as what movies show, but this scene is still a powerful reminder to me of this lesson that we all need to learn.

To all of those trying to sleep tonight, fighting their demons, fighting their memories, hiding the guilt that is not theirs, dealing with the pain that they never deserved, I say again,

It's not your fault.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Why I write

In a comment on yesterday's blog entry about what was happening with my writing in 1987, Deb Franklin asked:  

Is the fiction something you feel you have to write and get out there?
 This question boils down to, why do I write? 

I answered this question at length in this post in 2008, but I can give a shorter though perhaps more inscrutable answer:  I write because I have to.  I tried giving it up, and I failed.  For as far back in my life as I can remember, I've written.  I've written mimeographed UFO magazines, fanzines, non-fiction of all sorts, stories, and books.  I'd write comic books and screenplays if anyone would pay me to do so. 

So, Deb, the even shorter answer to your question is, yes. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Today's entry is the one-thousand-nine-hundred-eighty-seventh post on this blog, so as I did two days ago, I'm going to flash back to what was going on in my writing life in the year 1987.

I attended my third Sycamore Hill conference that year, but I had not sold a story since May of 1982.  I really shouldn't have been allowed in the door, but as one of the organizers, it was a perq of the job.  I was learning at the conference, and I made many friends, though almost none who will come up to me at a con today and say hi, but I was also freezing up and not writing much.  That said, "Burning Up," the story I wrote for that year's event, ultimately sold (after I rewrote it, of course) and appeared in When the Music's Over, a Greenpeace benefit anthology that Lew Shiner edited. 

On the article writing front, Bill Catchings and I had definitely ramped up our freelance business, because 43 bylines of ours appeared in computer magazines that year. 

I was also consulting, a business that led me to Toronto three times in 1987.  The last time, I moved to Toronto the Sunday after Thanksgiving and lived there for three straight weeks.  The job was tense, and the hours were horrific, but I loved the city and became close, at least while I was there, with some of my co-workers.  I still love Toronto and look forward to returning there on October 31 for World Fantasy Con. 

I also traveled to the U.K. for the first time that year for the Conspiracy '87 WorldCon in Brighton.  I quite loved England, and I still do.  I also gained a phrase there that taught me a lot, a phrase I still use frequently:  imaginative concentration.  Geoff Ryman used it in a speech about writing, and it resonated immediately with me.  When as a writer you maintain high imaginative concentration, you are in the fictional world, really seeing and feeling and tasting and smelling it, so that telling details are readily available; you just report what you experience.  When your imaginative concentration flags, you start reaching for descriptions, relying on cliches, and so on. 

Finally, by 1987 I no longer harbored any hope that I would set afire the world of fiction.  Instead, I hung onto fiction like a man tied to a boat in a storm, terrified that the only fate worse than being beaten to death by the boat was drowning as I watched it recede in the distance. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


is the name of the new Mumford and Sons album, the deluxe edition of which arrived today.  I can't wait to listen to it a few times.  I loved their first album, so my hopes are high for this one.

To warm you up, here's a single from this new release.  Enjoy.

Monday, September 24, 2012


This entry is the one-thousand-nine-hundred-eighty-fifth post on this blog.  Recently, the entry numbers have looked more and more like years to me as they have marched closer to the present.  For no more reason than that, every now and then I'm going to use the occasion of one of these posts to mention a few writing-related events in my life that occurred in the corresponding year.

In 1985,

  • With John Kessel and Greg Frost, held the first Sycamore Hill Writers' Conference at my house.  For good and for bad, it and the ensuing SycHills were hugely formative experiences in my writing.
  • First started becoming friends with Dave and Jo Drake and thus began a friendship that has lasted to this day and that has taught me a lot about both writing and the writing business. Earlier tonight, we and others celebrated Dave's birthday at a small dinner.
  • Turned 30, a development that took me out of young-gun territory and that also hit me hard with my first huge failure; I had vowed to retire by the time I was thirty.
  • Watched as my first professional short story sale, "My Sister, My Self," which was published the previous year, failed to gain any award attention whatsoever.  I had thought I'd set the writing world on fire, but it didn't really notice me.  I've had to relearn that lesson every year since then. That story, by the way, was the first Jon Moore tale. 
  • Went to Europe for the first time, an experience that, predictably, changed me forever and that provided writing fodder I'm still using. 
  • Published my first computer-related article, "Three-Part Harmony," in the November 26 issue of PC Week.  My co-author on that article was Bill Catchings, with whom I've co-written roughly a thousand assignments with many more total headlines.  Bill remains my business partner to this day.
  • First visited Australia and New Zealand, another trip that permanently altered me.
A great many other important events occurred in my life that year, of course, but just looking at this list makes me see now, for the first time, how big this one was in my writing career--and in my life.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dredd 3D

is another of those movies that you will enjoy only if you are in its target audience.  It is a honey badger of a film:  it gives not a single fuck about acting, plot logic, physics, or any of the normal concerns you might reasonably ask a movie to address.  No, Dredd exists to show us Karl Urban (well, his chin) and Olivia Thirlby (dyed blonde; what's up with that?) stalking through floor after floor of a giant high-rise and killing bad guy after bad guy while the Big Boss, Ma-Ma (the funky spelling lets you know that, hey, wow, this is the future) gets freakier and freakier. 

Actually, to be more accurate, Dredd 3D exists to show us all of that in 3D, so that when Dredd blows a hole in a drug user's face, we don't just see the hole, we see bits of jaw and tooth and skin and a shitload of blood flying toward our glasses-covered eyes. 

At this point, you should already know if you're in this movie's target audience.  If you're not, no worries; I'm sure you can always stream A Room With a View (which, I must admit, I loved) on Netflix.

Me? They had me at bullet through the face.

Of course, I'd have paid just to watch Lena Headey chew the scenery as Ma-Ma. 

Putting up with Karl Urban was merely another price I was willing to pay.

If you are the type of person for this movie, do not miss it on the big screen in 3D.  You won't for a moment confuse it with a genuinely good film, or one that makes any sort of sense, but you will have a good time.

(By the way, I feel obliged to note that you will even have enough of a good time to at least cut its creators some slack for how much they seemed to have stolen from the awesome The Raid: Redemption. To be fair to the Dredd folks, I don't know which movie came first, but the plot scaffolding is strong enough to support these two films and more in the future--as I'm sure it will.) 


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