As I’m sitting here after days of not much sleep, hygiene or social interaction, I begin to wonder why I do this to myself? The hours of writing, researching, editing, and rewriting, and rewriting, and rewriting…
In an attempt to justify my life choices, I have compiled a self-indulgent list of why I’m a writer:
1. I love words.
Seriously, I could read a dictionary and be entertained. No really, I’m that much fun. My favorite is the Oxford English Reference Dictionary that explains the roots of words. I love how words sound, and how they can be arranged into mind-boggling combinations to create meaning and emotional impact. There’s a rhythm to words and language, and I love every bit of it. Speaking of rhythm and music:
2. I can’t sing.
I firmly believe music is one of our purest art forms. With or without words, a song instantly paints a picture, tells a story and conveys emotion. Granted, I can play piano and clarinet (note very well), but I can’t sing worth a damn. If I could sing you a song, I would. But my singing sounds like a dying cat, and so I’ll have to write you something instead.
3. Writing justifies the amount of bourbon I consume.
4. Writing is cheap.
A writer only needs pen and paper. If you want to get fancy, you can always get a computer or an iPad. Or a typing monkey.
5. Stories are important.
A good story transports you to another world, gives you a new perspective, presents a new idea and entertains. Stories are how we relate to one another, and how we make sense of the general chaos that is life.
For better or worse, stories show our humanity. Yes, stories are important and somebody needs to write them down.
Why do you write?
It’s almost Halloween, so I’m sharing some lessons I’ve learned from a few of my favorite horror films (listed in no particular order):
1. The Shining
Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is a masterpiece. For the uninitiated (shame on you for not seeing this film), The Shining is about a family that heads to an isolated hotel for the winter, where an evil presence drives the drunken father to a murderous rampage and his son experiences horrific psychic visions.
So what life lesson that can be found in The Shining? Dead girls in cute party dresses are always terrifying, and if evil spirits throw a party in the hotel where you’re staying, just hang out and have a drink. All work and no play will make you a douche bag that tries to kill your family with an axe.
2. The Exorcist
William Friedkin’s Exorcist is a terrifying, dramatic exploration of faith. It’s about the demonic possession of a 12-year-old girl and the two priests that attempt to save her through an exorcism.
What life lesson could there be in The Exorcist? You’re always safer on the ground floor. First person thrown out the window by the possessed girl, shame on the demon. Second person thrown out the same window, shame on you.
American Werewolf in London is a John Landis classic. Two American college students are backpacking around England and are attacked by a mysterious creature that kills one of them and transforms the other into a werewolf.
John Landis does an excellent job of contrasting the character’s transformation into a werewolf with an upbeat soundtrack that has songs like Blue Moon and Werewolves Of London . An upbeat song played over a gruesome scene is always unnerving.
What’s the life lesson in American Werewolf in London? A good friend and drinking buddy will never let you run across the moors alone at night.
Halloween is about an escaped psychotic murderer that stalks Jamie Lee Curtis. What makes this movie so scary? Check out the shot below of the escaped psycho in a flesh colored mask, and then listen to this theme song. Enough said.
The life lesson in Halloween – never underestimate the studious chick. Never.
5. Evil Dead 2
Evil Dead 2 is basically a bigger budget version of Sam Raimi’s first Evil Dead movie. Evil Dead 1 and 2 are about a group of friends trapped in a cabin in the woods by evil demons. The Evil Dead/Army of Darkness films are Sam Raimi’s bizarre tributes to the Three Stooges, Looney Tunes and campy horror. They are pure fun.
So what’s the life lesson in Evil Dead 2? Never be afraid to repeat yourself, and Bruce Campbell makes everything better.
Happy Halloween! Now go watch some horror movies.
I have long forgotten where I learned this piece of writing advice, but these four words have been pinned to my lucky cork board so long the card is starting to yellow:
It’s a constant reminder that every screenplay I write must have these four components.
By the way, all screenwriters should have a lucky cork board. But that’s a piece of unsolicited advice for another day…
A post in which Stephany uses popular “historical” films to teach kids a little history.
In today’s lesson, we are going to start in ancient times with the foundation of Western civilization in Greece. Now Greece was filled with a bunch of Spartans that yelled a lot, kicked people down wells and never wore long sleeves. It should also be noted that ancient Greeks had 4% body fat and no body hair. Except facial — beards were super cool in ancient Greece.
Now King Leonidas of the Spartans had the best beard and abs, but he wasn’t very popular. King Leonidas could only get 300 of his totally ripped buddies to help him fight thousands of equally ripped guys in the historical Battle of Thermopylae. Said battle was long, hard, sweaty, bloody and muscular. In the end, King Leonidas should have recruited more dudes, because he died in battle. However, King Leonidas’ six-pack-abs went on to inspire future generations of Greeks and American presidents, including Abraham Lincoln.
President Abraham Lincoln definitely studied his Greek history, because he spent his youth getting totally ripped, and practicing his sweet martial arts moves with an axe. He also had a beard, because beards were still cool in the late 19th century, which is a blessing because everything else was kind of crappy. The 1800’s were a tough time in America. The West was being settled by lawman in masks with vaguely Native American sidekicks with too much makeup, and the North and South were reaching a point of major conflict because of vampires.
See kids, the vampires in the South wanted slavery to remain legal because they lived off the blood of their slaves. Abraham Lincoln thought this was very wrong. He didn’t care so much about the ethics of one human being owning another, he cared about fighting vampires with his axe. Unfortunately, all this vampire stuff eventually led to the Civil War. And thank goodness there was an axe-wielding maniac leading the country at that time, or America might not be what it is today. Which brings us to our next generation-defining conflict, known as World War II.
In World War II, the Americans were fighting the Nazis. Luckily, the Nazis only cared about making movies, and they were super excited to attend a film premiere. An angry French woman owned the theater, and during the film premiere she helped to assassinate Hitler and the entire Nazi Party leadership. You’d be a Nazi right now, if it hadn’t been for an angry French lady and the Nazi’s love of cinema. Thank goodness for movies, right?
Now kids, we can’t discuss American history without touching on what happened in 2001. In 2001, we found a black monolith from an extraterrestrial intelligence hidden on the surface of the moon. There were also monkeys, space babies and an evil computer that sang songs. 2001 was crazy, which is probably why we got rid of all that advanced technology.
Without our advanced technology, we had no way to stop New Orleans from being flooded by Hurricane Katrina. Not only did those poor people have to deal with flooded homes, but there were giant pigs trampling on all the trees, making their way across the land. Fortunately, a little girl that lived in a place known as the Bath Tub took a page from the ancient Greeks. She didn’t have a beard, but screamed a whole lot at the giant pigs and they went away. Yay, history.
Which brings us to present day, kids. So right now, there is a plague that’s causing the dead to rise. Yes, the worldwide zombie war is just getting started. Don’t you wish we hadn’t gotten rid of all that technology in 2001?
I’d hate to be a kid today.
Take a look around and see what you can bring to the world. How can you make a difference? What do we all need more of? Take one look around, and it’s pretty obvious what we all need. We need more blogs. And I’m here to help.
So maybe I’m arriving late to the blogging party, but I’m still going to live my life like it’s 2003. Let’s face it, 2003 was a blissfully uneventful year. 2003 was the year of “meh.”
So please join me in strapping on a Discman, or an iPod the size of a brick, and let’s all go back in time to when we were all younger, no one gave a shit about zombies, economic and social collapse didn’t loom around every corner, and starting a blog was pretty new and exciting. Wasn’t that nice? Now come back to reality.
Seriously, stop living in the past.
It’s 2013, and everyone and their grandmother is blogging about something. Given the insane amount of competition for your attention, I will try my damndest to keep the content on Stephany Says entertaining and informative. Honestly, I’ve just gotten tired of always writing for a paycheck and having to abide by the constraints that come with getting paid, so this is where I intend to play. It will be exactly like it says up top – I’ll mostly discuss writing and film. And booze. Don’t worry, I have plenty of experience with all three.
So come party with me like it’s 2003, and act like you give a shit another blog has been added to the Internet.