Uncorked 2020 Movie is . . . fantastic actually. πŸ·

I finished watching Uncorked about a month ago. Like the main character, Elijah, I wasn’t yet cemented on what I thought of it. I was incredibly wishy-washy.

Me: I think I liked it, but the ending . . .

Also Me: I loved it, and yet why didn’t it just . . . GIVE ME WHAT I WANTED FOR ELIJAH!

::Proceeds to Ugly Cry::

Uncorked is a family drama about Elijah (played by up-and-coming actor, Mamoudou Athie) , a Memphis-born and bred young man, who is pursuing a lifelong dream of becoming a master sommelier.

Sommelier

The above meme is hilarious. Since I am actually a girly-girl, I do love and appreciate the fancy things. One of my brother’s friends is a sommelier and it’s such a treat to pick his brain about his olfactory “superpowers”, ifΒ  you will. Oh, and of course there’s their taste buds. As a little person, I considered sommelier as a profession. I also considered being a mortician in high school, but we can’t be everything!

I do so love a good glass of wine. I also adore the pretty bottles! And the prettier the bottle the better! Once they’re emptied of their Bacchus-blessed contents, I place them on the top of my bookcases or use them as decorations along a windowsill. Que Nice!

Uncorked is written by Prentice Penny (I love that name — kyaaaaa!) who happens to be a Black man. He’s also the film’s director and the love he poured into this film shows in every bit of dialogue, every scene, every moment. Even the sighs and silence hold great gravitas. I laughed. I cried. I bobbed my head to the music. The soundtrack is another sparkling facet of this jewel of a film!

The last five minutes of the movie had me firmly glued to the screen. I couldn’t look away. I needed to know what would become of Elijah. Did he? Or didn’t he? The rest of this review does not contain spoilers, but I will say that one of the most traumatic moments in the movie irritated me so much that perhaps I should have drank a glass of wine. 🍷

Now, when I mention trauma I’m not speaking about the trite and stereotypical manner that “the media” often handles it while dealing with the Black experience. No, no, no. And that’s one of the main things I love about this wonderful movie. The movie focuses on an every day family dealing with every day things that happens every day. It’s glorious in its mundane approach and both the setting and plot devices are more common than most people realize. People — yes ESPECIALLY Black people are MORE than their trauma!

Now, what brought me to finally accepting this movie — especially its ending?

Well, I can empathize and learn from Elijah’s story.

I submitted some more short stories and poems for publication about two weeks ago, (I may share the feedback I received in future posts and I may call it “Laugh at My Tears” — no? “Learn from My Tears”? lol) and I received some . . . rejections. That’s the way it goes sometimes.

The question is what do we choose to do about it?

You Are Going to Want to Give Up - DON'T

 

 

Changes . . .

You may have noticed that my blog looks . . . different.

I was messing around with settings and themes. I clicked on one and a question popped up asking me if I wanted to discard my old (and outdated — lol?) theme. I clicked “no”. So, I assumed that if I clicked on another one, the same question would pop up. But no. Not so.

I’m laughing though because that darling theme was outdated and I had no idea! The bright bubble gum pinkalicious Blossom theme will be no more! So even if I wanted to return to dear, old Blossom — alas, I cannot!

So, I’ll be doing a little tinkering here and there to continue with updating the site. If there are missing links or currently inoperable links I appreciate your patience and will be working on fixing those issues.

For now, I ask you:

What do you think of it?

You like? Don’t like? Don’t mind? Didn’t notice? πŸ™‚

 

HELP! I Have an Overactive Imagination and (sometimes) I’m Afraid to Use it!

I remember once when I was sitting at home with my oldest son, (he was eight at the time), and he snapped at me, “Why do you keep laughing?”

We were supposed to be enjoying silent reading time, or perhaps I was enjoying it a little too much because I couldn’t stop laughing out loud at a particularly interesting scene.

I totally empathized with his snippy reaction and didn’t snap back. When you’re a reading teacher to young children, the struggles they encounter and the achievements they share are beautiful to behold. A good teacher models how to interact with text. As a mother, this should be no less important.

“This is a really funny scene,” I told him. I explained to him that there were bad men that were trying to hurt one of the good main characters and they probably weren’t expecting her to react in the creative way that she did.

He hopped from the couch and planted himself beside me. “Mom, there’s no pictures on the pages of YOUR book!”

I explained to him that readers must create mental images in their minds as they read in order to better comprehend the words provided by the writer.

He wrinkled his brow, clearly suspicious and wondering if I had gone mad? Nah, just kidding. Although he did side-eye me, I explained to him some of the word choices the author used that directed my own pictures.

Of course, I didn’t share everything about that scene. He was eight and it wasn’t appropriate.

Years later, I still break into a chuckle thinking about the scene. The jarring irony cracks me up for the fact that one of the main characters in the book is an incredibly reserved, book-smart aristocrat. In this hilarious and violent scene, she’s able to fight off her abductors with a boiling teapot (oh so fittingly British, after all the novel takes place in Regency-era Great Brian) and a frying pan. As I read in my head, my mind’s eye created a fully-fleshed out movie in vibrant color, sound, and smell. I could even hear the snarls and yells (like music to my ears) when her abductors received burns and caught iron to their faces. They probably assumed that because she’s a “lady” that they didn’t have to catch those hands.

POW!

Glorious! I didn’t see that coming! πŸ™‚

I laughed because of the utter and delightful humor the author graciously slipped in this bloody good British fighting scene. Also, this was the first time I had the pleasure of witnessing this particular character acting so “Mary Mary Quite Contrary”.

Reading and writing are really fascinating. What’s even more fascinating is how the human mind interacts in response. It’s amazing how a mere word combined with other words has the ability to inspire, depress, persuade, entertain, etc. In most books, especially fiction it’s the writer’s job to gift their readers with clues and descriptions that aid them in their literary journey found within the pages of the book they are reading.

It’s like once you’ve opened the book, you and the author are inexplicably linked (pun intended).

its-dangerous-to-go-alone-take-this
Pssst. The Sword symbolizes your Imagination!

Basically, if an author describes a red pumpkin, its flesh carved to resemble a devilish Jack-O-Lantern sprouting banana-looking legs baring razor-sharp teeth, that image (no matter how weirdly nightmarish) should indeed POP into your “mind”.

So, let’s revisit one of my former students who, like my own kids, is also an awesome kiddo. In a previous post, I shared his experience on how he struggled with staying engaged while reading books because a lot of the time he felt lost and that his mind was simply . . . blank. He said that my descriptions in one of my middle grade novels helped him to “experience something” even though he was unable to actively picture it. That’s all well and good, but . . .

But of course there’s a caveat.

What about hyperphantasiac (is that even a word? well, it is now!) readers? What if especially vivid descriptions drive readers with hyperphantasia insane! In fact, one of my beta readers shared that critique with me. He said, “What’s with the description of that cheeseburger and milkshake? I enjoyed it, but it was almost overwhelming. I wanted a cheeseburger. It made me hungry! You need to do something about this.” His specific feedback gave me plenty of incentive to slice and dice.

That said, I must admit that during drafting time, I struggle with painting settings in my short stories.Β  When I provide too little (discovered upon a second read) it’s almost as if my mind had supplied the missing parts. Weird. And then when I’ve provided too much, the detailed descriptions overwhelm the scene and the “Who cares” part of the plot is lost. Then there are other times when I’m so intimidated by the overwhelming images in my head that the desire to capture every lovely line and curious curve onto paper eclipses writing anything at all. Writing well is a matter of constant balance and to know what should remain . . . or go. And knowing is half the battle . . .

I own a plethora of books on anything from “clothing for every time period” to the “global history of narcotics”! My shelves are overflowing with resources! So, how does one distill all of these goodies into a scene? Page? Chapter?

It’s like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Sculpting a scene for readers must be “just right”.Β  I will try to share tips on how to do that in a future post.

Until next time!

Overactive Imagination

 

“The Many Faces of Ito” is . . . delightful.

The Japanese TV Drama, “The Many Faces of Ito” has it all and then some.

The Many Faces of Ito_Netflix

I binge-watched it when it debuted on Netflix and may mostly re-watch it. Why?

Unrequited love. Misunderstandings. Best Friends Forever Betrayal.

Oh. My. Goodies!

The series is mostly about Rio Yazaki, a jaded rom-com screenwriter who is struggling to make a comeback and a pretentious, self-centered, and obnoxious student who upstages her. Whoever could he be?

Fortunately, Rio isn’t necessarily an innocent by-stander or angel. That would be boring. And Japanese TV Dramas are rarely boring. Rio digs into the lives of four “love-sick” women, pretending to help them, but she’s really “mining” for the golden bits to aid her in writing.

Be Careful of What You SAy
Lol.Β  πŸ˜€

I clearly loved watching this movie. If you’re a writer, a reader, a lover, a fighter, a naughty and challenging student, or even a mix of some, or all of the above, you might enjoy watching this series.

 

 

 

Virtual Conventions 2020

In the past, I’ve attended a lot of conventions, but for whatever reason I didn’t write much about them on my blog.

Anyway, due to COVID-19’s global impact, a lot of online conventions have been popping up around the world.

Invited by A.M. Justice (thank you!) and launched by Virginia McClain (thank you!), I’m pleased that I had the opportunity to get my geek on last weekend.

Here are the Pros and Cons (clearly not an exhaustive list) of attending a virtual convention:

Virtual Conference ProsVirtual Conference Cons

Overall, it remains clear to me that the sometimes intimate and social interactions at a regular convention are precious and priceless; however, this fantastic group of authors, editors, readers, creators that I was able to participate during this time were able to make the best out of this situation. πŸ™‚ There are some panels that I’m so looking forward to watching because due to time issues I was unable to watch the first time . . . and the great thing about this is that they’re still living and breathing on YouTube. So, at my leisure and with a cup of tea, I will click and view.

Below you will find QuaranCon images and links.

QuaranCon2020_Editing Panel
Watch the video here, where I play the part of the Disembodied Voice — lol. Technical Difficulties, folks.

QuaranCon_Panelist Bios

QuaranCon2020_OWN Voices vs Cultural Adaptation
Click here to watch. πŸ™‚

Super Face Recognition: Have We Met Before?

In a previous post, I shared my experience as a teacher with hyperphantasia and coming to the realization that not all people have the ability to create mental images, after one of my students shared with me that he couldn’t picture images in his mind. Curious, I wondered if there was a reason or diagnosis for this. While looking, I learned that he may have aphantasia. We’ll come back to that later.

Just in case you haven’t yet read the post, allow me to catch you up to speed. While aphantasia is the inability to form mental images of objects that are present, hyperphantasia is the ability for an individual to create highly graphic images in his or her mind’s eye.

Motivated by one of the responding comments from that post and my own experiences inspired me to write this post about Super Face Recognition. Almost a year ago, I was going about my business after work. I was starving and needed to pick up groceries to cook dinner. As I hurried from the parking lot and into the shopping center I passed by a woman who looked so familiar. And I was right. She had changed a lot though. I hadn’t seen her for almost twenty years. The young woman had been a girl I knew in high school. We shared a lot of classes and graduated the same year. We were never close friends, but I remembered her face. Though she had aged beautifully (lol — we both had!) and lost weight (another similarity) I knew it was her! I called her by her name and when she turned I was like, “WHOA! This is weird!” She laughed and said, “Do I know you?” I reminded her that we had shared an English Honors class and offered my name. Her face lit up as if a supernova had exploded beneath her skin. “Monique! That’s you! I can’t believe it! You look so different! How did you recognize me?” I thought it was weird that I recognized her, too. So, I started researching and discovered more amazing abilities about the human brain!

Now I’m wondering if there’s any correlation between hyperphantasia and Super Face Recognisers. What do you think? Want to learn more? For more information you can visit Super Recognisers Greenwich.

If you’re curious to know about your abilities, there’s a test you can take. I’ve taken it and a lot of things are making more sense.

Happy reading and happy writing! πŸ™‚Β