mary_j_59: (Default)
2017-07-22 09:46 am

More on "Wrinkle"-

So, after writing the earlier blog posts, I came across this comparison on youtube:



It's extraordinary how alike they are. In particular, it's extraordinary how, whenever the old movie deviated from the book, the new trailer seems to deviate in the same way. I get the sense, from watching this short video, that Ava DuVernay may be remaking a movie rather than filming a book. This would explain the major deviations from the book. (And I don't mean the race of the characters! I mean the setting, the lack of Sandy and Dennys, the scenes that seem like earthquakes, and so on.)

But I might be wrong. After all, the new "Jungle Book" could also be compared to the old movie point for point. But the makers had clearly read the book and paid intelligent tribute to it, as I said in an earlier post. They ended up making a unique and excellent movie. Let's hope the same with be true of the new "Wrinkle in Time".

Still, I'm more apprehensive now. I can't help but be apprehensive, since I love the book so much! We shall see.
mary_j_59: (Default)
2017-07-18 11:49 am

Meg, Laura, and Sarah-- Heroines' journeys.

I posted this on live journal, actually, because I couldn't remember my login for Dreamwidth!

Here is the link: http://mary-j-59.livejournal.com/107389.html

I will try to pretty it up later--rushing to work now. Enjoy! Comments welcome either here or there.
mary_j_59: (Default)
2017-05-05 10:28 pm

New story!

I had a story accepted for publication by Sick Lit Magazine. It came out today! Here is the link:

https://sicklitmagazine.com/2017/05/05/sorrow-by-mary-johnson/
mary_j_59: (Default)
2017-04-29 02:18 pm

some thoughts on science and education

So, I went to the local climate march today. Hundreds of people were there! (Pics will follow when I edit this post; I'm writing this quickly) As with the other protest marches I've attended, there was a very good feeling of community and peace. But-

I began conversing with a young woman next to me. She said her dad (I think it was her dad) was a Fox news watcher and basically believed all the propaganda; in particular, he believed science was no truer than religion. In other words, to him, science wasn't about facts. It was mere opinion.

I'm still tired from the bug I'm fighting and the words didn't come to me then. I did manage to say (what I truly believe) that it's shocking to me that so many of my fellow citizens are so poorly educated. But here's the thing:

This young woman's dad wasn't entirely wrong. It is true that many people who promote science also promote materialism. And materialism isn't a fact; it's a belief. But science is NOT the same as materialism. True science is a way of examining the natural world to discover facts about it. You may have a very active spiritual life and be a scientist (Our Pope is a good example), or you may be a die-hard materialist and have no idea of the scientific method. Of course, all scientists are focused only on the physical world while doing science. Naturally! That's what science is for; it's a means of discovery, a quest for truths about the physical world.

What Fox News, and other such "sources", have done is to confuse the scientific method with materialism. This is wrong and dangerous, and leads to confusions such as this young woman's father had. Such confusions are all too common in America today.

BTW, our local climate march was led by several groups of nuns. One young woman was carrying a poster illustrating "Laudato Si", the Pope's beautiful call for care of the earth. And there were pro-science signs EVERYWHERE! Catholic groups, Jewish groups, hard-left groups--everyone was carrying them.

Because, as I said above, science is true.
mary_j_59: (mug)
2017-03-26 10:32 am
Entry tags:

On adaptations


This photo of Goshen is courtesy of TripAdvisor.

So they are again trying to film one of my childhood favorites, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. Honestly, it’s a book I still love, and I am filled with trepidation. Oh, I’ll go see it when it comes out next year. I’m almost certain to, unless it’s completely panned. But the Canadian TV movie from ten or fifteen years ago was a very mixed bag, and I’m very much afraid this version will be, too.

Why? I admit I was a little startled when I read that the director insisted on having primarily people of color in the cast. And then I thought about it. It does change the story, which is set in rural New England in the early 1960s. African Americans really didn’t live in small New England farming villages after WWII. They did before the war, and the loss of this population is one of many American tragedies and injustices. But_

One of the points of the story, and, indeed, of the series, is that Meg’s family are outsiders. Making Kate Murry of African descent, and her children mixed race, is a good way of emphasizing this. And these are beautiful children! If they can act the parts and get the characters across, it doesn’t matter in the least that they don’t look like the characters in the book.

But I’m disappointed that the filmmakers didn’t bother to film in the book’s actual setting. To me, one of the great pleasures of Madeleine L’Engle’s books is the love and care with which she evokes the New England landscape. A Wrinkle in Time begins, very specifically, in northwestern Connecticut in early autumn. Madeleine L’Engle lived in Goshen. The early scenes in Camazotz are meant to look like on of the local mill towns. This—the foothills of the Berkshires, and a part of the Appalachian chain—is a lovely landscape. It’s not spectacular or dramatic, but it is quietly, subtly beautiful. I’m sorry they didn’t see fit to film the book where it was set.Read more... )
mary_j_59: (mug)
2017-03-16 11:34 pm

Another Telakan Recipe (cross-posted from my author blog)

I know; it’s been a long time, but I’m finally back, and with a new, very green recipe just in time for St. Patrick’s day! This will serve four aunties for a breakfast dish, or eight reluctant small boys. It’s quick and very simple if you can find frozen broccoli rabe.

Read more... )
mary_j_59: (mug)
2017-02-05 11:12 pm

The Culture of Death, Part 3-

Sorry! It's another political post. As I say below, I was inspired to write this by our readings at Mass these past two weeks. They were almost scarily relevant.

Before our current president (I suppose we must call him that) took the oath of office, I had a brief conversation with a friend. “Young women I know are in tears,” she said to me. “I can’t understand it. I think it has to get worse before it gets better.” At the time, I was rather shocked and startled, but I’m starting to agree with her.

It’s not that Trump isn’t awful. He is. He is even worse than I imagined he would be, and the appearance of Swastikas on public property is absolutely chilling. All the bullies, racists, and neo Nazis seem to have been greatly encouraged by recent events. And yet- Read more... )
mary_j_59: (mug)
2017-01-24 11:55 pm

The women's marches-

I know nine women who marched on Saturday, and I ended up joining a small local march myself. It was a beautiful experience. Now we have to find a way to stay united and keep pushing for a humane and civilized world. Here's a short film I took.
mary_j_59: (mug)
2016-12-11 09:49 pm

How (not to) write technobabble. (cross-posted from my author blog)

Ah, technobabble! You’re happily watching some science fiction show or movie, and some character comes out with a string of incomprehensible syllables. For example:

“Captain, the phase inverters have reached 2000 degrees kelvin. If we don’t reverse their polarities, they will implode!” (* Please note: I made up that example on the fly. I think it’s nonsense even for technobabble.)

“Huh?” you say to yourself. Then, if the writers have done their job, you’ll either say to yourself, “Oh, I see. Their engine is overheating, and they need coolant,” or else you’ll just ignore the technobabble and focus on the story. If, however, the writers have not done their job, you will get annoyed.

Of course, each reader, writer, and viewer has a different tolerance for technobabble, and a different idea of what might make it especially good, or especially bad. I’d guess that, for most of us, it’s usually especially bad. Can there be a way to write it well?

I think there might be. I’m going to preface this by saying I have no desire to feed the flames of the Star Trek versus Star Wars arguments. I like them both. To be absolutely accurate, I am a passionate Niner, love the original Trek, like Next Generation, and also like the first three Star Wars movies. It’s quite possible to love both Trek and Star Wars. It’s also quite possible to get annoyed by technobabble in both franchises!Read more... )
mary_j_59: (flute)
2016-11-26 09:16 pm
Entry tags:

The Culture of Death, part 2

If they do these things in the green wood, what will they do in the dry? (Our Lord Jesus Christ)

I went to a funeral a week ago exactly. It was for a good friend of one of my aunts, a woman who was also a friend of my parents'. A brilliant Indian summer day; a little wooden church by the sea. The woman whose life was being celebrated was a WWII vet, so she received military honors. Read more... )
mary_j_59: (mug)
2016-11-06 08:11 pm
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The U.S. Elections and the culture of death

Like millions of my fellow citizens, I am going to vote in a couple of days. A priest in a church I visited said a couple of very wise things about the election. He said:
1. There is no candidate who truly represents Catholic social teaching and/or the morality of the peoples of the book.
2. Our fellow citizens, whomever they support, are not the enemy. They are our countrymen and women, and our brothers and sisters. Read more... )
mary_j_59: (mug)
2016-10-11 12:11 am
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Another Sunday Poem. )

I thought this one up on a walk my sister and I took round the pond. A cool, breezy day, and the colors were beautiful, but there were still some small red dragonflies zipping around, as well as bumblebees after the asters and other fall flowers. One dragonfly seemed to be going along with my sister for a little while; he actually landed on her thumb!

Dragonflies follow you
as though you were at once
shelter and larder;
as though you held
in your cupped hands
the waters of their birth.
mary_j_59: (mug)
2016-08-25 10:42 pm

Visual Dare-Encroach

Here is another short short story inspired by one of Angela Goff's visual dares. The picture I was responding to follows the story. Comments welcome!

Visual Dare; Encroach:
Everyone else had their eyes covered, and some were carrying slices of onion. Nadia refused. She had no intention of hiding. One of the boys next to her actually had an old-style gas mask that might have belonged to some English or German great-grandfather, and he made to hand it to her.

“Take it! You’ll need it if they start spraying tear gas.”

“Not if. When,” a granny walking behind her muttered. Nadia shook her head at both of them.

“I’m not afraid! Thank you, but no.”

The boy shrugged and dropped back behind her. As Nadia strode on, the granny reached up and patted her shoulder. “Brave girl! Is it your first time?”

“Yes.” Nadia felt her breath catch in her throat, for she saw the soldiers in front of her, by the wall. Her soldiers. Her people. Would they really fire tear gas, and worse? Would they shoot at peaceful protestors? Well, and if they did? She’d come here for a reason, and that reason was peace. She wouldn’t let soldiers stop her.

She lifted her chin, tossed her long, blonde hair over her shoulders, and strode forward.

tumblr_nmrz11ttuc1qaa9yuo1_1280.jpg
mary_j_59: (mug)
2016-07-24 02:51 pm

It's the writing! (a belated movie review)



(Mowgli faces Shere Khan in the new movie)

That was going to be “It’s the writing, stupid!” Not that any of us is stupid! But, when we see a film, how much thought do we give to the writers? I finally want to rave quietly about the recent Jungle Book. There was so much about that film that was excellent! Many people have pointed out many of these things: the excellent animation, the child’s performance (which, okay, had its rough spots, but which was generally completely natural and believable), the voice cast, the music, the pacing, and so on. Only a few people that I know of mentioned the writing. And it is the script all these other things depend on. You could have fine actors, excellent animators, good musicians, excellent sets and camera work and so on. Yet, without a solid story, you could still have a bad movie.

Now, I’m of the generation that remembers the “original” animated Jungle Book. And I’ll tell you something. When I saw it as a small girl, I liked it. I even liked it a lot. I didn’t love it, and that’s because I knew and loved the book. The cartoon simply wasn’t anything like the book. The new movie does justice to the book, as well as the cartoon.

For the new movie has three sources. They are (1) the Disney cartoon. I don’t honestly remember it well enough to say how good an adaptation of the cartoon this new movie is, but others, who remember it better, proclaim this adaptation is very good and faithful. (2) the stories Kipling wrote. I loved how Kipling’s actual text was used in the film – more on that below. (3) Finally, there is real science; the actual natural history of Asia.

The filmmakers, including the writer, succeed in melding these three things into a classic coming-of-age tale. Read more... )
mary_j_59: (mug)
2016-07-11 11:04 pm

Visual Dare-Hesitation



This is one of Angela Goff's VisDares, and I gave it as a writing prompt to the writing club. Here's what I came up with.

Isn't it strange? Those were the letters I pulled from the scrabble bag. Exactly those. I took eight, instead of seven, and then I just stared. It was like the angel Gabriel speaking to me. I froze.

"What's the matter, Grandpa?" Mercy said.

Joe said, "You've got an extra letter."

"So I do. So I do." I took the "t" from "wait" and put it back in the bag. Then I set the other letters face down on my rack. "Just a moment, children. I'll be right back."Read more... )
mary_j_59: (mug)
2016-06-19 11:14 pm

A Poem for Fathers' Day

This is another result from a prompt in writing club. My sister liked it, and thought I should share it with family and friends, so I'm doing so.

Claddaghduff
(For my grandfather)

By the ocean
The horse races,
His shoes striking
Wet sand.
Shells gleam
In the sunset.
The strand shines.
An old man,
Astride,
Reclaims his youth.
mary_j_59: (Varen)
2016-06-14 12:32 am
Entry tags:

and more on gun control-

I wanted to say just a bit more on Orlando. I think our love affair with guns in this country is obscene. I really do. Yet I got a couple of petitions for gun control that I could not in good conscience sign. Among other things, they are insisting that anyone who is "suspected of terrorism" should be forbidden to buy a gun. And here's the thing:

A Republican lawmaker -- I forget who -- explained why he could not support this law. He said he couldn't agree that people on some secret list should be penalized. I thought about that, and I actually agree with him. We have no idea what could cause you to get on that list. Advocating for equal rights for Palestinians? Supporting BDS? Dr. Sami Al Arian did those things, and there are those who called him a terrorist. He was actually jailed. So far as I know, he never did, nor threatened, any violence to anyone.

So this Republican is right. I don't agree with barring people from exercising their second amendment rights because they somehow got on some secret list. Editing to add that neither doctor Al Arian, nor any of the activists I know, would ever try to buy an assault rifle. Here is what I would like to see.Read more... )
mary_j_59: (Niki)
2016-06-13 12:41 pm
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On love and hate

Three things that are on my mind. Except for the first quote, I mention no names. I have no intention of violating anyone's privacy.

1. Poor, battered Rodney King, all those years ago, pleading "Can't we all just get along?"

2. Some years before that, my sister told me a lovely story. She was walking one way; a handsome young Black man (is it still okay to say "Black" in this context?) was walking the other. As they passed each other, he smiled at my blonde, blue-eyed sister and said, "You're beautiful." She smiled back and they each went on their way.

3. Yesterday, one of "my kids" came to visit me at the library. She came with her girlfriend/partner.Read more... )
mary_j_59: (mug)
2016-05-19 10:52 pm
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"It was a Dark and Stormy Night" (a writing exercise)

Soemthing we did together in writing club - I had fun with this one! Enjoy.

It was a dark and stormy night.

Sturm und Drang. Yet again Sturm und Drang, thought the man sitting on the floor in front of the legless piano. "God Damn!" he muttered to himself. "I just saw lighting, but I can't even hear the thunder. No, not even that."

But then a sharp crack and a sound like tearing filled the room. The man smiled. He wasn't deaf, after all. Not quite.

Ludwig turned to the piano and began playing the storm.
mary_j_59: (flute)
2016-05-17 11:52 pm
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On Bullying, and violence in politics

Fair warning, everyone - I am a Bernie fan. I think he's great! But not perfect. That said, I fail to understand why the man is being blamed for the (apparent) acts of a few of his supporters. He said, quite clearly, that he does not support violence and that nobody ought to be threatened. Could he have offered more sympathy to that poor woman in Nevada? Yes, I think he could. She by no means deserved this horrible treatment. No one does. Still, Bernie has never advocated violence against anyone, unlike the other two candidates. Which brings me to my main point.

The Donald, Heaven help us! How did we ever get to this point? Well. Here is one way. He's a bully. And-

We live in a country in which bullying is not only acceptable, but effective.Read more... )