Tag Archives: ranting

If Lynn Shepherd Cares About Writing, She Should Actually Read Books

I wanted to be an actress, but my parents said that I should go to college and get a degree in something useful.  So I majored in Creative Writing (take THAT!).  My favorite authors are Terry Pratchett and Tamora Pierce, but Brian Jacques’s Redwall series initially sparked my passion to write.  Needless to say, I was never interested in writing The Great American Novel.  I wanted to write about knights and magic and castles and fantasy, specifically YA (Young Adult) fantasy because that is what inspired me to become a writer.  I cannot TELL YOU the struggle I had in college because of this.  Teachers and students alike sneered at my “genre writing.”  It took me years to recover from the ego-beating I received in university writing classes from closed-minded assholes who claimed that writing about girls with swords wasn’t worthy of my page or their eyes.

I have since emerged from the Despairing Self-Pity Cave a fearless defender of YA.  Sherman Alexie, author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, wrote this brilliant article that sums up my feelings exactly about the importance of young adult fiction and the ignorance surrounding what it should be and who should write it.

This morning, I stumbled across this totally absurd piece entitled “If JK Rowling Cares About Writing, She Should Stop Doing It.”  I needed a rant, so I came here.

Lynn Shepherd, some writer who has not tasted the same success as JK Rowling, has decided that in order for the unknown authors of the world to get a fair shake, Rowling should step down from her tyrannical throne and let others have a chance, for Christ’s sake.  I mean, it was all well and good when Rowling was “Pottering about,” but now she’s strangling the adult book market with her crappy novels and no one else can even get a word in edgewise, so maybe she should just keep to writing for babies so that other authors can be published.

The premise alone is ridiculous, since that’s not actually how publishing works, but this line

This Line

THIS LINE

is what makes my head explode:

“I did think it a shame that adults were reading [the Harry Potter books], mainly because there’s so many other books out there that are surely more stimulating for grown-up minds.”

So she has the audacity to judge readers for enjoying something that she has never read because she claims to be some sort of arbiter of what adults should and shouldn’t read.

I thought Harry Potter was uncool before it was cool

I thought Harry Potter was uncool before it was cool

It’s not breaking news that another snooty literary type thinks that any work labeled “children’s” or “young adult” is not worthy of adult consumption.  It’s just disappointing and tiresome.  Who the hell is anyone to say that it’s wrong for an adult to identify with Hermione or Alanna or Katniss any less than Elizabeth Bennett or Rosasharn or Lady MacBeth?

And if you say YA novels don’t use sophisticated prose, then I raise you the austerity of Hemingway as an example of powerful literature sans the fancy-pants and then hold up the maddening complexity of Joyce, who used all sorts of fancy literary devices and yet managed to make you want to kill yourself after having to untangle his sentences.

But children’s books are void of complex ideas, you say? The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss.

Good books transcend genre.  Period.

But back to Shepherd, cus it gets better.

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Seriously, you stupid jerks: A rant with cursing

I realize that there are some people out there who weren’t raised by two actors.  I realize that there are people out there who don’t regularly go to theatre.  I realize there are people out there who think that theatre is a dying art form and OMG did you see what Kim Kardashian did?!?!

But I believe that everyone can find a play or a musical that moves and inspires them.  I invite everyone and anyone to anoint themselves in the majesty and inimitable magic that is live theatre.

That all being said, I feel like there is a very basic level of human decency that has somehow gotten lost.  Old people will blame the young people.  Young people will blame the decaying establishment.  Arty people will blame the unwashed masses.  I don’t really care whose fault it is.  The Classy Dame is about to help y’all out in a big way.  Ready?  Here goes.

I was recently in a one-act that went on to a regional theatre festival.  For months, we worked very hard on this show — The Long Christmas Dinner by Thornton Wilder, for those interested.  It’s basically  a time lapse of 90 years of Christmas dinners for an American family.  People were children, got married, grew old, and then finally passed on all on stage.  We went through several on-stage, on-the-sly costume changes as different fashions and eras came and went.  It was a lot of fun to choreograph, but still a lot of work.

Before going to the festival, we put the show up for one weekend so that we could get a feel for the audience’s reaction before performing it before the judges. We invited our friends and family to come see it, the community supported us in the local paper, it was all very nice, lovey dovey, supporty-worty and all that stuff.

During the 45 minute show, two cellphones went off AND some idiot was taking photos with their camera phone.

Look.

We’re all very impressed at how much the internet and the outside world is DYING to hear from you on a constant basis.

Seriously.  Good for you.  I sometimes go days without anyone giving a shit what I have to say so, really, that’s truly impressive.

But let me keep it simple.  SHUT OFF YOUR DAMN PHONE.

And if you are so moved by what’s happening on stage that you simply must Instagram it, could you please wait until after the show and then clamor outside my dressing room with flowers and/or bribes of sexual favors like how it’s SUPPOSED to be?!

I mean for God’s sake, does this really still need to be explained?

Even for movie theatres, which aren’t as sacred to me as a regular theatre (though I do have friends who would vehemently disagree), I still think this is relevant advice.  I have sat through rated R film where people bring in infants.  Most notably? Cabin in the Woods.  YEAH.  I’ve been in movie theatres where people spend the film texting or even do that ridiculous thing of ANSWERING THEIR PHONE in order to say in a sotto voice, “Yeah, I’m in a movie, what’s up?”  Sadly, I’m almost surprised when stupid shit like that doesn’t happen.  And while the other movie-goers are going to be annoyed, at least George Clooney isn’t going to have to pause awkwardly because he was previously competing with your stupid sailor shanty ringtone.

But in LIVE THEATRE, the thing is, the thing is, folks, it’s LIVE.  And the actors can see you.  And hear you.

And I’m not saying that actors are always riveting or that the script is always good or that the music is always on key or the lights are going to go up at the right time (incidentally, none of those things apply to the show *I* was in, because we were fricken awesome), but there are human beings on stage who have created something for you. And you, theoretically, have willingly come and paid to see it.  So don’t you think you owe your fellow human beings taking part in one of humanity’s oldest art forms the simple courtesy of turning off your damn phone?!

Also, 1995 wants its ringtone back.