Story is not enough

It’s very hard to write when you are sick at heart.

For me – an American – the events of the past few months have caused a renewal of heartache. My country’s election of a corrupt, cruel, and venomous buffoon to the position of national leader was undeniably a catalyst, but the ache predates even his rise to power. We live a time of almost unbearable strangeness, where one can go with a few clicks from cat videos to pornography to people pratfalling off treadmills. People can live decades with diseases that would have been death sentences a few decades ago, doctors can videoconference to surgery tables, and we can see light-years away with stunning clarity.

These are the days of miracle, to paraphrase Paul Simon, but not of wonder. Continue reading


Story Must Matter

Anyone who follows my blog knows that I’m no stranger to being down on things that are critically acclaimed. However, for the most part, I try not to begrudge whatever the critically acclaimed things the success they have. Usually I can chalk it up to difference in taste and move on.

However recently I saw a stage production (kindly called an opera) that got four stars and a prominent  review from the Chicago Tribune.

This made me really angry. Continue reading

(mostly) Unlimited Ambitions

On the first day of my literary journalism class, the professor asked what our dream situation twenty years from now was. He emphasized that for this particular question, he wanted the pure dream situation- no thought for practicality or difficulty, no restraint of likelihood.

That’s a tough one to tackle at 8:00am. Continue reading

‘The Hunger Games’ and Storytelling- why the series falls short

I’ve seen The Hunger Games twice now and I’m still not sure what I think of it, and of the series as a whole.

I enjoyed the book series quite a bit. I don’t think they’re best books I’ve read, and they certainly don’t qualify as the new 1984. But I’ve also read and heard plenty of critiques of the series, such as this one, and while I think in some places the criticism is misplaced, I can agree with them on one thing for certain.

The writing and world-building of this series is awful. Continue reading