Why I Hate American Politics (Even Though I Live Here)

Okay, it's my first post in five months. Let's get this out of the way first and foremost: this is going to be the only time I write something overtly political on this site. I keep this site for fun, not to argue or generate hate-traffic and get extra clicks. The only reason I'm even writing this post is because this is something that's been on my mind a lot this year and I feel like it'll just keep gestating and percolating around in my brain unless I spew it all out somewhere.

This year's presidential election is one of the most divisive and bat-crap insane that I've ever personally experienced. And I was around for Bush v. Gore and the whole recount fiasco. And maybe it's just me having somewhat matured in terms of my own own opinions and beliefs about different political issues, but this is the one election I've been able to vote in that I don't have my favorite picked out yet. In fact, I really don't feel like voting for any of the candidates right now.

Oh yeah, the title. See, here's the thing. American politics are bonkers right now, mostly because of the incredible polarization of the different stances and opinions that our two major political parties have. It's not as simple as having disagreements about domestic and foreign policies but still respecting others' opinions. People seem prepared to go to war over their stances on a pretty wide variety of push-button topics.

And part of the reason for that is the way our political system is constructed. I don't think that the Founding Fathers anticipated just how divisive that the political system in our country would become, but they really should have. Let's have a bit of a history lesson.


Speak for Yourself

Dialogue is one of the ultimate tools for a writer, and it's one of my personal favorites to play with, experiment on and just have fun putting on the page. Once you learn the rules of where to put your quotation marks and expand past the He said... She said... stage, dialogue becomes one of the most versatile functions of writing. It is that because it cuts both ways, both fleshing out the characters and explaining how the world around them works, how it looks, etcetera.

For me, dialogue is fun, but it's honestly still tricky. It's a very tricky balance between having the characters talk like, well, real people, but still being original enough to seem like an actual character and not just me writing my own thoughts inside quotes. A lot goes into writing dialogue that has nuance and heft but still comes across as believable.


Dialogue vs Narrative: What to Say, What to Do

Writing fiction is an interesting exercise. With all of the different styles and tones and words and everything else you have to learn and figure out, it's easy to get overwhelmed and feel like the easiest thing to do is to just copy someone else. And a lot of the time, it is. The problem is what might or might not happen after that. A lot of writers just copy someone else and leave it at that, usually burning out of ideas and inspiration just a handful of books (if that).

What's important is forming your own style. Take all of the bits and pieces of writing that I've been talking about on this site in the past, juggle them around in your head and thrash them out on paper until something comes out that's wholly, uniquely you. Your own flavor and style, with its own texture and tone. Don't just write how you talk, write how you write.


Old is New Again: The Force Awakens (to a) Review

*looks around, brushes dust off of keyboard*

Huh. Haven't been here in a little while, have I. Guess that's what happens when you become a busy, productive adult with many important things to do. You don't have time to do the things that you really want to do unless you sit down and make time for them. Idleness doesn't befit productivity. It's not like I stopped thinking or stopped coming up with ideas for articles or pieces here; there's a sizable difference between thinking about something and actually taking the time to sit down and write it out.

All of this to say, I did take the time to have a leisurely activity happen this weekend. I went to see the new Star Wars film. And I have an opinion about it, of course, and since I'm on the internet and have my own website I'm going to put that opinion out for others to see.

Now, let me do two things out front here. This is going to be a more basic, simplistic review of the actual film itself as well as a few thoughtpieces about the film's story. I'm not going to go into the real implications from an in-universe standpoint that the film has. If that's more of what you're interested in, I encourage you to check out eleven-thirtyeight.com, the Star Wars fansite that I write for on occasion. I'll probably have an article out there in a couple of weeks, and pretty much everyone else there are as good or better writers than I am so their thoughts will be entertaining and informative as well.

The other thing I'm going to do is throw up a SPOILER WARNING right here and now. If you want to go into The Force Awakens not knowing anything, I'd advise you to do so first before reading my thoughts below. I'll do my best to avoid the major spoilers, but reviewing the film the way I do will naturally mean some discussion and dissection of the plot, characters, themes, etc.

Once again, this is a Spoiler Warning, stop reading now if you don't want to know any more about The Force Awakens than you already do.