The ramblings and musings of author and musician Geoffrey Young Haney.
Much more coherent and loveable fare from his wife, Michelle.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Inspiration Week Day 4: The Movies [part 2]

Well since the last entry on "Inspirations Week" was not one day ago, but rather one MONTH ago, I really should lose the whole "Week" thing in the title. But now I just find it funny.

A brief rundown: Previously on Inspirations Week...
And that brings us, all the way nearly to June, with day 4, where I wrap up 7 things in cinema that blow my freaking mind. And to kick things off...



4. Quentin Tarantino
Favorite film: Pulp Fiction

I always feel like such a film poser when I talk Tarantino. For a while you weren't cool if you didn't like Tarantino, and somewhere along the way it became uncool to like Tarantino. You had to dig deeper to prove your indie snobbery, Quen has gone mainstream! It's even worse when cite Pulp Fiction as your favorite film of his. There are the super-snobs who will say Jackie Brown is the best and you're an idiot for not thinking so. There are the purists who claim Reservoir Dogs is the end-all-be-all (I'm inclined to agree with them on some levels...) Then there are people like my wife - the new school - who will watch Kill Bill over and over and over again and never get sick of it. In the end, though, regardless of which end of the street-cred spectrum you fancy yourself on, we're all correct. Tarantino is one helluva filmmaker. For me, though, cliche or not, nothing beats Pulp Fiction. Its the only film whose script I own in a novel form. Its one of my favorite Bruce Willis performances (and I love me some Willis.) Its got some of the most quotable lines, some of the most infamous scenes in cinematic history. But Pulp Fiction really shines in the little things. Just look at the camera work sometime. The angles. It's like a comic book on film, the way the people talking aren't always all thats in the frame. The way we're brought into the scene emotionally simply by where the camera is positioned. I love it, and aspire to create something as wholly enjoyable and memorable every time I sit down to write.


5. Hellboy I & II
directed by Guillermo Del Toro (based of the co
mic by Mike Mignola)

The Hellboy franchise may seem a bit odd to put in this list. It hasn't really stood any sort of test of time, its a comic book movie, it wasn't a huge hit. But Hellboy was my gateway drug into the imagination of two wonderful artists, Mike Mignola and Guillermo Del Toro. I have since loved everything Del Toro has put on film, from Pan's Labyrinth to Cronos to yes, even Mimic (and you'll understand why once you see #7...) I just love the creativity on display in these flicks. The costumes and characters are phenomal, the set design is great. These stories touch on all my favorite sorts of genre stuff: demons, fantasy, sci-fi, myth and fairytale. Del Toro's mind literally exploded all over these movies and they are such fun to watch. If you really wanna nerd out, like I have, check out the 3-disc special editions of the DVDs. Watching Del Toro walk through the goblin market set from HBII and talk about all the minor details as if goblins and fairys and even Hellboy himself were as real as you and I makes my inner-child's heart soar.


6. Tim Burton/Johnny Depp/Danny Elfman
Favorite film: Sleepy Hollow

(Again, #7 will make so much more sense.) Sleepy Hollow? you might ask. Seriously? Yes. It's my favorite Elfman score, the cast is great, the mood is perfect, and it doesn't take itself too seriously. And the climatic scene in the church is one of my favorite scenes ever. The more obvious choice for this trio is Edward Scissorhands, which is also an amazing film. The other two flicks, Corpse Bride and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory are enjoyable films as well, though not on the same level for me, (nor for very many others, most likely,) as Edward Scissorhands and Sleepy Hollow. These cats don't hit a home run every time they're up to bat together. That's not the point. The point is that they are three INSANELY talented people who I admire greatly. Tim Burton has always been a creative beacon for me, I was a Music Compositions major in college because Danny Elfman made me want to score film, and I would love to someday write a character wort
hy enough for Depp to embody. And when this trio gets together, even if its not something miraculous or for-the-ages, I'm always excited to see what they bring to the screen and I always leave entertained.


7. Cheesy Freaking Movies
Favorite film: Hackers

Yep, so now you understand. Ask anyone I know: I love cheese-tastic movies. Usually from the 80s and early 90s, the time of cheese. Hackers sits alone on top of that mountain for me. I could watch it again and again - and have! It was the 4th movie, I believe, that I made Carter watch (obviously, he's a tiny baby and didn't "watch" most of it, but it was on and he like all the music and lights!) (And this is the same kid who was born to the sounds of Journey, so he's doomed. I've cursed my boy to a life of cheesiness.) I won't sit here and defend Hackers' cinematic value (I could, but I won't.) Just suffice to say that it doesn't get any better for me than a movie so hopelessly clueless about "future" technology. Everything in it is so beyond dated its not even funny. And it was beyond dated like... 4 months after the movie came out! It's a tiny piece of '95 in a freaking time capsule. Terrible electronica? Rollarblades? 3D videogames? Fischer Stevens on a skateboard? This is pure gold people, a film that always brings a smile to my face.

Some other cheesy picks that always make my list: Adventures in Babysitting, Batteries Not Included, Army of Darkness, Big Trouble Little China, Gremlins, Dead & Breakfast, The Fifth Element, Final Destination, Water World, Hot Rod, The Lost Boys, Masters of The Universe, Short Circuit, Smokin Aces, Walking Tall, Zoolander, Last Man Standing, The Rundown, Doctor Detroit, basically any movie with Nic Cage or Arnold in it, and lots of zombie/horror flicks... just to name a few. And of course you can't forget those fantasy classics like Dark Crystal, Legend, The Neverending Story, Willow, Labyrinth, Krull, and the like. All sorts of movies I've enjoyed immensly, and still enjoy today. Why? Because they're just entertaining stories done in an entertaining way. That's all. They're not reinventing cinema or pushing any boundries. I'm a simple guy to please - entertain me. Let me escape for a while. And in short, that's why I love movies, the good and the cheesy.



HONORABLE MENTION
James Cameron: The Terminator is one of the tightest scripts I've seen ever, and the director's cut of The Abyss is probably in my top ten.

Robert Rodriguez: This dude not only does cheesy and fun well, he also inspires me with his 10 Minute Film School segments found on most of his film's DVD extras. Totally awesome stuff, this guys a real creative filmmaker. Plus, Planet Terror is the bee's knees!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sing It Loud Saturdays: AM Taxi

Sing It Loud Saturdays is a new weekly feature here at Creating Life that will introduce you to bands, songs, albums, and artists who I really dig. Some of them you may have heard of, many you will not have.

This week's featured group is AM Taxi.

Click here to check out The Mistake off their 2010 release We Don't Stand a Chance.

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Bit of Updating

Greetings people of the interwebs!

So May has completely slipped by me and I see today that I have only published 2 posts this month! This simply will not do. So since I have the house to myself tonight, expect a plethora of posts. Don't worry, for my sake and yours I will space them out to publish in the next fews days. Call it my Memorial Day Weekend gift to you. And if you hate all my posts, then consider it an torture! Moohahahahaha.

Of course, if that's the case, why are you here in the first place?

Anyway, I digress. THE POINT OF THIS POST: To let you in a few things.

You will see in the menu above that I have added two links, THE SONS OF THE MOON and DEAD LIVING. What are these, you ask? These are the two books that I will be publishing this year! Yay! So click the links above to read an excerpt from each project. A bit about them...


THE SONS OF THE MOON is my baby, birthed into this world some years ago now by myself and my heterosexual life-mate, Matt Rodriguez. December 1st, 2011 marks the day that we will release our fair child into the blinding sun of reality. But in all seriousness, The Sons of The Moon is the first volume in our young adult epic fantasy series entitled The World Within My Walls, and we couldn't be more excited to have everyone read this bad boy. It really has been a labor of love. I can confidently say that it is an action-packed, magic-filled story that is sure to take readers on an adventurous ride through the mythical land of Eldynwood as two young men from Earth – the virtuous and creative Baron McNeil and an intrepid orphan named Baldwin – fight for the freedom of a land outside their own, how a warrior named Archer embraces his role in the struggle, and how one mysterious man known only as the Wishmaker may hold the key to saving Eldynwood once and for all. But don't take my word for it, read the excerpt! And follow the link at the bottom of that page to check out chapter one from The Sons of The Moon on my Goodreads page.


DEAD LIVING is really a pet project of mine, something I've always wanted to do. I could talk for hours about the future plans for Dead Living, the big dreams, but I will hit you with the important stuff. What is dropping this year, August 1st, is a novella entitled Dead Living Vol. 0: The Day The Rain Stopped. This is a primer of sorts for what is to come. I hope Dead Living will become a lot more interactive and multi-media as things progress, but for now its a simple novella I hope to have people read and enjoy. Dead Living will tell tales of survival after a strange 28-day rain storm infects both the living and the deceased with a virus capable of reanimating dead tissue. Told through multiple points of view, Dead Living weaves together the tales of many different people from many different walks of life as they struggle to find safety, to find loved ones, and to find a cure to the virus pumping through humanity's veins. Book of Matches Media's DEAD LIVING is sure to serve up all sorts of walking dead deliciousness. At the end of this excerpt you will find a link the Dead Living Survivor-log which will be launching shortly as August creeps ever closer!

So please, check those links out, comment on the Goodreads excerpt if you're a member, and comment on here letting me know what you think! Pass this along to people who might enjoy the stories, as well. Thanks as always for your time and support.

Here's to a very eventful rest of the year!

Cheers.

G

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Carter Edison Young Haney: Year One

So it's my son's 1 year birthday today! Above is a picture of the two of us. I am on the right, at age 1. He is on the left. It's very shocking to have a little Mini-Me running around the world. It's almost like an evil twin, or a baby me come from the past, and eventually someday we must destroy each other in mortal combat because both of us, so similar, can't exist in the same time.

I guess it's nothing like that, but gimme a break, I write fantasy! My mind goes to odd places.

Anyways, I wanted to drop a quick post for posterity, to capture what I was thinking on the day my son turned 1. It seems like just yesterday - cliche as heck, I know - when we brought him home from the hospital. But it's been a year. And I can hardly fathom it. Yet, it so many other ways its as if Carter has always been here - has always been a part of our lives. I think that's the definition of love, when you can feel that. I say it about Michelle all the time, too. I feel like I didn't really, truly live until I had my family. And so since I have in fact lived 28 years, my beloved family must have been a part of those 28 years, somehow. They're sprinkled in my hopes and dreams and memories I've had since day 1, even though I hadn't met them. And now that they're here, I am here. Truly here.

So Carter, my boy, years from now when you inevitably stumble on this small little corner of the internet and this post about you (for the interwebs keep eeeeevvvverrrytthiiinnnggg, moohahahahahha!), I want you to know how much I love you. Whether I go on to successfully slay the dragons in my head or I end up working in a crap-tastic warehouse the rest of my life, I can confidently say that, through you, I have done something awesome in this world. Because you are awesome - and I mean that in the most direct sense of the word. You fill me awe. I'm so proud of you already, and I can't even imagine what adventures life holds for you.

Happy Birthday C! You are the breath that keeps me going.

Geoff

Monday, May 2, 2011

Get The Job Done

Lit agent/blog rock star turned published author Nathan Bransford wrote today in this post on his writing process that:

"as long as you get the job done you're a writer."

The idea of that hit pretty profoundly after I read it. What does it mean to be a writer, after all? Is it writing a book? A blog? A poem, a short story? Is it having that piece read? Enjoyed? Discussed? Published? Or does it boil down to the effort behind the craft. The dedication to the piece.

All of us would-be authors struggle with the question of "what makes a writer" pretty regularly. I've seen it around the blogs I follow. We struggle with needing some sort of affirmation that we are, in fact, writers, whether that be a published work, a lot of Twitter followers, a healthy dose of positive feedback, a cover blurb from an author we respect, a slot on the NYT Bestseller's List. We sometimes become consumed with these future prospects that we forgot about what we're doing right now.

And what we're doing right now is writing. Burning the candle at both ends to create something for us, because we have no other choice. Writing is like breathing. At the end of the day, most writers write because of this. They don't write to make money, they don't write for an audience, they don't write to win awards. These are by-products that the successful ones can enjoy. The rest of us - right here, right now - are simply doing the work. And whether we go on to sell Rowling numbers or leave the piece locked in a filing cabinet never for the world to see, we are still writers.

That being said - and what challenged me about the phrase - is that if we don't do the work, we have no one to blame but ourselves for the world's apparent disregard of our writerly-ness. Imagine saying "I'm a doctor" and citing your collection of ER DVDs as if they were a medical degree. We read and we study and we fret over becoming a writer. We think because we know what should be done - because we've learned how its been done - that we are now writers. But real writers, published or not, do the work.

Staring down the next few months towards December and the release of The Sons of The Moon, I have a confession to make. I didn't feel very much like a writer this weekend. I had ample downtime - time alone in the house even, which is a miracle - and I instead spent that time watching TV or movies, watching stories unfold instead of making my own unfold. I'm not saying a bit of relaxation is a terrible thing, not at all. What I'm saying is to do the work means to have a level of commitment others do not. If one proclaims to be a writer, than one must be willing to write, no matter what distractions are presented. I've set goals for myself and my writing and this weekend I skirted them.

I'm not beating myself up in the post, or saying that watching or reading other stories is wrong, I'm simply saying that for me, for the commitment I've made to be a writer, I have to find a better way to manage my time. Because being a writer means doing the work.

What do you think? Do you struggle with the idea of what it means to be a writer? Are you doing the work to reach your goals?

I'll be back later this week with part II of my Inspirations Week Day 3: The Movies. Until then, have a superb evening!

G