“A type of literary criticism that evaluates a work on the basis of the moral elements it contains and their correspondence to the accepted moral standards of the time or to those ethical principles that the critic feels should govern human life. Ideally, the moral critic, in judging a literary work, applies only those moral standards presented in the work itself or, failing that, makes his or her own beliefs clear to the reader.” – The NTC’s Dictionary of Literary Terms
I’m currently writing an psychoanalysis on the horror/thriller film The Platform directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia currently on Netflix. It’s almost impossible to avoid doing a kind of moral criticism not only trying to interpret the morals addressed in the work itself, but also express your own feelings about the events throughout the story (especially that ending!). Doing my best to stay within the realm of psychoanalysis, I inevitably ran into psychological terms that framed my view of the many facets of morality portrayed in this film. I have no desire to push my views on the audience, but the subjectivity that comes with psychoanalysis and the unreachable idealism of a moral critique makes it difficult to not address my views, which hasn’t been as optimistic as most analyses and reviews.
I’ll definitely share my analysis of The Platform on my Vocal profile when it’s finished.
Do you think being the ideal moral critic, where you’re focusing on the moral standards or ethics of the work itself, is possible?
During my meditations this week, I accepted an important sacrifice I had to make. Sacrifice is strange to me. Sometimes I go out of the way trying to find a way where I can get everything I want without losing anything. I try to strategize, work around the way people perceive me, hoping I can […]
Horror and magical realism are my favorite genres to blend. My first published attempt at doing this is my horror short “Autonomy Bleeds Black” where pain and power manifested into elemental forces. One of my favorite magical realism works is Pan’s Labyrinth directed by Guillermo Del Toro. I’m a huge fan of Del Toro’s and am grateful that Pan’s Labyrinth was my introduction to him. In interviews, he’s described this film to be very personal as someone who lived under strict and religious conditions, but used fantasy works and other genres to escape. Often our escapes become reflections of our inner world and help us interpret what’s going on within us subconsciously and consciously.
…These genres are mirrors, but for their effectiveness to withstand any resistance to our personal revelations, we writers have to hook the audience in with familiarity and give them the illusion of control.
One author I was thinking about after my writing session today was F. Scott Fitzgerald. I think I may have blogged or written about his vivid writing style before. One night I decided to listen to The Beautiful and Damned on audiobook hoping it would help me go to sleep. It was impossible. The diction and rhythm of his writing kept me awake and invested in Anthony’s life, family, grandfather, and the girl in the tub. The narration is omnipotent third-person. There isn’t a lot of dialogue, but every scene has ambience, the internal conflicts and emotions of the protagonist are interdependent on the atmosphere of every scene. Of course why wouldn’t it? The American 1920s was a very lively time where your status and progress in life determined whether you were all the rage or not. Although there’s a looseness or almost carefree façade to the high class life of that time, there’s also a stress and competitiveness digging inside their guts. Fitzgerald wasn’t just narrating (and parodying, I think) about a time and characters he meticulously understood, but…
So, I dedicated this week to working on updates with my horror short “Autonomy Bleeds Black”, which is why I haven’t uploaded a VPD or blogged much of anything else this week. I knew I had to give the horror short some time to make sure my marketing is successful and that my dream of my short stories becoming movies becomes possible.
However, I miss the crap out of my novel! I’m going to work on it today and write a VPD as well as share my other ones. I guess this is the risk of having more than one writing project. Have you ever had this feeling though? Where you miss the world and characters you created? It’s gotten to the point where I have designed playlists for my characters with Spotify when I want to think about them (it’s very fun!). I honestly love this feeling and can’t wait to get back on track.
Also, I started the audiobook called Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. Have you read it? I absolutely love it so far. It’s definitely a must for artists of all types who need inspiration or encouragement, especially if you’re a poet.
My first draft rendition of introducing this new group of characters reminded me how sinful it is to write cringy dialogue and that my characters should have purpose or just not exist at all. I don’t mean to be too hard on myself considering it’s the first draft, but I was disappointed to read this scene of diverse characters introducing themselves with a silly/comedic camaraderie and then turning out to be kind of overpowered later. I already know my anime-brain took the lead on this. Now current me has to deal with characters whose purpose is poorly translated. While keeping my focus on making sure the voices of these characters were definitive and believable with their personality, I thought more critically about the development of side characters.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, fellow writer. You are in charge of your life and one of the ways you take charge is through writing, self-expression, analysis, arguments, or storytelling. You are the one who decided that writing is an essential part of your lifestyle, so why aren’t you living in a way to ensure that writing remains a priority? Beating yourself up over a rest day during an entire week of work is preventing you from living like a writer. Like I said, you’re in charge, so when you decide to overwork yourself, you’re also deciding to sabotage yourself. You do this because you’re ashamed, afraid, and guilty, but I want you to remember that when you’re in those flow moments, where you’re just inspired to write and the words just come, that is when you’re dignified, fearless, creating without regret.
Although I didn’t get the time to post a VPD on vocal today, I did a lot of writing and editing for my novel and it was really a blast. Tomorrow’s VPD will explain why.
I’m a little behind on promoting the VPDs on WordPress but you know you can always check in on what I’ve posted by going to my Vocal profile. I’ll have the other entries posted tomorrow. I hope they’re kind of interesting or helpful to read. The one I wrote today discussed cultural appropriation vs. respectfully researching another culture you’re not familiar with as an author and it was very enlightening.
As a writer, thinking about karma keeps me mindful of how audiences processes information. One thing leads to another. A ripple effect, right? But it’s not just about action and result or action and reaction, it’s the tension between those two things that makes karma such a universal concept because we’re all sentient enough to think about the “what if”, or the unknown/hypothetical situation caused by an action. For many of us, that’s our self-imposed prison taking form.
The Violet Project Diaries – Entry 3 – Kill Your Darlings (or torture them)
The chaos is what we want to show our characters responding to. We must also be brave enough to show that they may never learn how to flow with the chaos of life or releasing expectations for things they can’t control or simply taking responsibility for what is within their control. If our darling aren’t working for the story, we kill them; if they need more development, we torture them.
I had some mental health issues and a cold to deal with last week, so I disappeared. I’m a lot better now and am ready to get back on track. Being in bed gave me time to think about how to publish my upcoming short story. Self-publishing looks like the way to go considering it’s too long to submit to most magazines and too short for any publishing house to consider. I’ll let you know what platforms the story will be published on, Kindle Direct Publishing being a definite one.
It was aggravating having a cold while wanting to write and edit the story so badly. It means so much to me. I took the Kafkaesque approach in a more personal direction where I reflected more on Kafka’s life and my own life rather than focusing on the Kafkaesque genre as it’s known (but it still has the basic elements). That’s why I’ve been so enthusiastic about having it be my first published story. It will open the door to another new project where more music will finally be released.
There’s been a lot of chaos in the world, some of it warrants panic and some of it doesn’t. Art and the forced solitude without art kept me grounded in a strange way. I hope the rest of you stay grounded too. What I love about Kafka the most is his ability to make some sense of the bizarre, even though he’d often conclude to a state of powerlessness, the surrender to that revelation ironically empowered him as a writer. When chaotic or bizarre situations consume us and our environments, we often want to anchor ourselves in a place of control so we can stand our ground and brace the storm, but some of us get carried away by the momentum of the situation and we interpret that as a failure way too often. Change happens. Chaos is constant. Sometimes you have to go with the flow to relearn how to stand your ground. Change is just experience, not a complete loss of power, but of course, there’s still loss.
As someone who struggles with mental health almost constantly, I promise you I’m not trying to make this sound easy.
Be well and wash your hands. My heart goes out to all who are dealing with changes beyond their control.