Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Iterations of Frankenstein

When eighteen year old Mary Shelley had a bad dream that turned into a book, she couldn't have imagined the cultural phenomenon that would emerge from her pages. She created an entire genre: science fiction. The ripples that she started are still spinning out two hundred years later.

Frankenstein is one of those stories that everyone just *knows*, even if they've never read it. It's been adapted in hundreds of way, re-imagined, used in homage, served as inspiration for so many pieces of art of one kind or another. Clearly, we're not done with this story yet.

My first introduction to the story probably came through the celebration of Halloween and all the masks and television specials featuring some version of the monster. The version of the monster enacted by Boris Karloff was already imprinted on the world well before I was born: square head, visible black stitching, metal bolts on the neck, greenish flesh, stiff walk and all. I can't remember when I didn't know that iconic image.

I eventually saw all the old movie versions on cable television: Karloff's, Chaney's, Lugosi's, Lee's. I drank in Young Frankenstein and the monster's romp with Abbott and Costello. I loved Lurch, Herman Munster, and all the cartoon versions of the monster from Scooby Doo to the Groovieee Goolies. The monster has been played for horror, for pathos, and for laughs, and he's effective in all those roles. If a story is riffing on Frankenstein in some way, I'm sure to give it a try.

I was in college before I read the original book, and like many a reader, I was astonished at the difference between the monster Mary Shelley wrote and the one we know from popular culture. The more sensitive and articulate creature has been making a resurgence. I recently watched the Penny Dreadful television series and The Frankenstein Chronicles, both of which give the monster voice.

I've read it a couple of times since.

I'm still not sure what it is about this storyline that draws me in so. Is it the mad science elements? The abandonment pathos? The misunderstood nature of the creature itself? Maybe it's something deeper, something I feel at a more symbolic level, something about motherhood or the nature of creation or the boundary between life and death.

Any other fans out there? What's your favorite version of the story?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

IWSG: Celebration Time

It's the first Wednesday again, which means it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog hop. The March 7 question - How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal/ finish a story?

Be sure to check out our awesome hosts after you see what I have to say:  Mary Aalgaard, Bish Denham,Jennifer Hawes, Diane Burton, and Gwen Gardner!

So, this is one I'm kind of bad at. 

My to-do list is always excessively long, and that can mean that I don't take time to celebrate what I've finished. Instead, I just turn left and pick up the next item on my list. 

But I do go back and reflect from time to time, and it can be a real boost to see what I've actually done, especially if I was too busy to appreciate it while it was happening. For example, I was feeling like I hadn't been productive as an author in 2017, until I wrote my end of year reflection and realized I'd done quite a lot, actually!

In fact, it's one of my goals for 2018 to celebrate more, to pat myself on the back for a job well done. That's part of what's so great about this blog hop. The commenters are always so supportive and kind, coming with a heart to help and encourage. There's not enough of that in the world, maybe especially in the writing world, where the work can be solitary. 

A few ideas for celebrating accomplishments: posting a happy dance video about the good thing, going out with someone you love for your favorite gastronomic treat, letting yourself write your play project as a rewarding for having the discipline to stick with and finish your other project, calling your sister (work for me, anyway), giving yourself a little non productive time to goof off completely. 

How about you? How do you celebrate the good things in your writing life or other creative endeavors?