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Posts Tagged ‘writer’

When people asked me what do I want to do when I’ll be a grown-up, I didn’t know what to answer… Years later, and I still don’t know what to answer. Lawyer, maybe… Nah… Writer? Film… something? Human being???

Never had the claim of a writer, never thought myself as one, not because I didn’t want to, but simply because I wouldn’t find the strength to ascend to that status. Maybe I don’t have what it takes… Talent. Skill. Inspiration. A simple and basic connection between my neurons so I can write down my thoughts… you name it…

So, why come back? Why not lay down and die? Forget? Wait for time to kill you? Maybe because time is a flat circle (yeah, True Detective reference!) and whatever I do, it’s gonna repeat and happen on a basic, tasteless schedule, again and again. but that’s no perfect theory either.

Not gonna go deep with the philosophy this time… Gonna try, but not gonna force my hand. Not gonna go over my head with nothing this time. After all, I think that was my failure… and maybe I’m not alone there…

Gonna try keep it casual and cool (big words already…)

PS: Why don’t you follow this blog, bookmark it or simply remember it’s stupid address? Make an exercise, will yah?

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Franz Kafka

We celebrate today 130 years since the birth of novelist Franz Kafka. As you probably saw, Google has dedicated him a logo today which is a representation of his work “The Metamorphosis”, which is  story of a salesman, Gregor Samsa, who gets transformed into a monstrous vermin.

Franz Kafka is one of the most influential authors of the 20th century, strongly influencing genres such as existentialism. His works, such as The Metamorphosis, The Trial and The Castle, are filled with the themes and archetypes of alienation, physical and psychological brutality, parent–child conflict, characters on a terrifying quest, labyrinths of bureaucracy, and mystical transformations.

Kafka was born into a middle-class, German-speaking Jewish family in Prague, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, on July 3rd 1883. He trained as a lawyer and, after completing his legal education, obtained employment with an insurance company. He began to write short stories in his spare time and only a few of Kafka’s works were published during his lifetime.

I read The Trial and currently I’m reading The Castle and I can tell you that Kafka’s works are great, but hard to read because of his style. Nevertheless, great writer.

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You wake up one morning and you’re f*cked up. Your whole life is upside down and you ask yourself “What the f*ck happened with me to get here?”. You already know the answer, but you push it away… You can’t stand those emotions again, not after they whiten your hair and destroyed your mental health.

It stays in the smoking cigarette from the ashtray, in the cold bottom of whiskey from that bottle you bought yesterday, in the dirty sheets of memories, wasted love and meaningless sex after you lost the love of your life and you feel like screaming, like burning the whole place down, like putting a bullet in your head, but you know that won’t solve anything. You conclude with a nice, loud, therapeutically “FUCK”.

Your head is still spinning from the enormous quantities of alcohol you’ve drunk in the attempt to forget all, to forget that you make only 500$/month and that you still live in that stinking hole for over… for your whole life. You were born here and we feel like choking with every second that you spend here. Everybody knows you, but you can’t stand those same faces over and over again, those same sad trees and that hypocrite sun, all marked by the same adjectives as they always were.

Your time is already gone and you have nothing to wait for, but death… There is nothing left for you…

“Well, f*ck you world, f*ck you life, f*ck you all… F*CK!” 

The same anger, the same disappointment and the same ignorance as your only cure. You stopped care a long time ago and it seems like the ‘F word’ had became your answer to every problem. But you know what? It f*cking works…

by Sorry B.

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On the Road is a novel by American writer Jack Kerouac. On the Road is based on the travels of Kerouac and his friends across America. It is considered a defining work of the postwar Beat Generation with its protagonists living life against a backdrop of jazz, poetry, and drug use.

When the book was originally released, The New York Times hailed it as “the most beautifully executed, the clearest and the most important utterance yet made by the generation Kerouac himself named years ago as ‘beat,’ and whose principal avatar he is.”

The author

Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady

Jack-Louis Kerouac was an American novelist and poet. He is considered a literary iconoclast and, alongside William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, a pioneer of the Beat Generation. From his works we remind: On the RoadDoctor SaxThe Dharma Bums, Mexico City BluesThe SubterraneansDesolation AngelsVisions of CodyThe Sea is My Brother, and Big Sur.

Kerouac met Neal Cassady, who would become Dean Moriarty, in December 1946 and began his road adventures in 1947 while writing what would become The Town and the City. The adventures themselves, which took place between 1947 and 1950, were meant to help him overcome writers block during early attempts to write the book. It was through letters and other interactions with his friends that Kerouac decided to write the first person narrative that became On the Road as we know it today.

The publication process was another adventure unto itself, which took a major psychological toll on Kerouac. He was discouraged by the struggle (even though he continued to write during the period) and finally agreed to substantially revise the original version after years of failed negotiations with different publishers. He removed several parts in order to focus the story and also to protect himself from potential issues of libel. He also continued to write feverishly after its publication in spite of attacks from critics.

Just the old road, the eternal road, the one that lives forever after its passengers go away

Beat Generation

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”

The idea of what it means to be “beat” is still difficult to accurately describe. While many critics still consider the word “beat” in its literal sense of “tired and beaten down,” others, including Kerouac himself promoted the generation more in sense of “beatific” or blissful.

The Beats were seeking out a way to navigate through the world. As John Clellon Holmes put it, “everywhere the Beat Generation seems occupied with the feverish production of answers—some of them frightening, some of them foolish—to a single question: how are we to live?”. Beats are not lost but how they are searching for answers to all of life’s questions. Kerouac’s preoccupation with writers like Ernest Hemingway shaped his view of the beat generation. He uses a prose style which he adapted from Hemingway and throughout On the Road he alludes to novels like The Sun Also Rises. “How to live seems much more crucial than why.”

In many ways, it is a spiritual journey, a quest to find belief, belonging, and meaning in life. Not content with the uniformity promoted by government and consumer culture, the Beats yearned for a deeper, more sensational experience. I was looking for a novel that presents a form of uniformity and consumer culture rejection, but also I was yearning for a deep, sensational and moral experience and this is what On the Road offered me.

I wasn’t that familiar with the Beat movement. This was my first novel of such content, but nevertheless, I learned  that “being beat” means “being beatific”. Kerouac is closer to the real definition of this movement, or this is the impression his novel left to me. Our purpose in life is one of the most disturbing problems we ever encounter. Why to live? is a question that burdened many minds across the time and some of them might have even come to a close answer. But why should we look that far? How to live? seems to be a problem of more greater importance and that is the life philosophy that On the Road adopts. Not knowing what your purpose is, represents the trigger that Kerouac pulls in order to create a  surprising adventure. The closest meaning of our life stays, after all, in front of us, in the living itself.

I think there is sensitive link between happiness and sadness, between pleasure and pain. I already said that On the Road comes closer to the figurative sense of the “beat”, but the literal sense of this word is not completely off the beaten track as well. On the Road does not come from bad attitudes, from being beaten down, as Fight Club does, if the comparison is allowed and does not promote those attitudes as well, like the above mentioned novel does.

To sum up, the Beat movement is a searching in life, a combination between the 2 senses of the word. Being a representative novel of this generation, On the Road is filled with youthful energy and reflects the searching of something in life (something we all search for, something we all must find for ourselves), on an endless road, road that has no constraint or rules for those for want to truly live, to experience and feel the life at its real value. The moral lesson this novel offers are priceless and that is why the Beat Generation has something special in it.

Themes, characters, plot, style and such…

That is not Jack Kerouac, but the Sam Riley, the one that plays Sal Paradise in the 2012 film

The novel tells the story of Sal Paradise who travels across America in order to find himself among his friends like the iconic Dean Moriarty who was raised on the road and lives to be on the road. The road represents the intrigue from which the actual plot takes place. The road is also a symbol, meaning the path in life, the evolution and the movement, the activity of life. The main ideas of the Beat Generation, the longing for belief and meaning in life, are reflected in On the Road.

Although the book can be viewed through many lenses, several major themes rise up from a deeper study. Kerouac has admitted that the biggest of these themes is religion. In a letter to a student in 1961, he wrote: Dean and I were embarked on a journey through post-Whitman America to FIND that America and to FIND the inherent goodness in American man. It was really a story about 2 Catholic buddies roaming the country in search of God. And we found him. This idea of an inward adventure is illustrated in all of the experimentation. The Beats had a more liberal definition of God and spirituality closely related to personal experience. Besides the main plot of the novel which is the travelling across America, On the Road shows multiple ethical values.

The main character is an alter-ego of Jack Kerouac, named Sal Paradise, a person that shares some biographical features with the author. Dean Moriarty, his fellow traveller, is also based on a real person, Kerouac’s friend, Neal Cassady. In fact, Kerouac is known for using real life persons as a base of his characters and real life experience as a base of his stories. Other characters such as Carlo Marx and Old Bull Lee are based on important figures of Beat Generation like Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughts, in this specific order. All the characters are supposed to be based on real persons, but I won’t bore you anymore.

The travelling from the novel are inspired by the travelling of the author and Cassady. In this order of ideas, we may ask ourselves: where do Kerouac and Cassady end and where do Paradise and Moriarty begin?, where do the adventures of Kerouac and Cassady end and where do the adventures of Paradise and Moriarty begin?, what is reality and what is fiction?…All those questions shouldn’t represent a big problem. The motive of writing is not that important. What really comes forward is the adventure and the ethics that follows it. Therefore On the Road has a real life substrate and we may lose ourselves in the story, we may confound with the characters, because the expressive force lies in the plot.

I am not trying to say that the character of On the Road are unsubstantial, even if only Sal and Dean arise. Paradise is young, he reflects the formation of the man on the road, he evolves, he is a hybrid form of Dean. He takes the part of narrator. On the other hand, Dean is more attractive, he is a carefree attitude, he has a sense of adventure, he was raised on the road, he is free-spirited maverick eager to explore life. I’d say that Dean becomes tha main character of the novel, while Sal remains in his shadow. After all, On the Road is a true Bildungsroman.

On the Road is a novel consisting of mainly male characters and we can assert that it examines the ideas of masculinity and also mobility in the 1950s. While these concepts may seem unrelated, Kerouac weaves them together to provide another form of rebellion against the social norm of conformity.

The narration is simple, concise, expressive and the style of Kerouac is modern. I think that when you manage to catch life in few words you accomplish a form of literature more valuable than all the beautiful phrases in the world and this is exactly what the style of Kerouac aims to do. After all, more modern novelists and poets focus towards a simple and concise style, yet expressive. There are some metaphorical speeches now and then, especially when the narrative gets deep, but you won’t have any problem in decoding them. Kerouac is a great and simple to follow writer, intense and expressive when he wants to be so.

The novel was adapted into a film in 2012, a film maybe not as great as the novel, but for sure faithful to it

The main theme of the film was already named as The Song of the Week, here, on Futility.

Conclusion

On the Road is an inspiring novel. The ethical values of it are something to think about, or in a better use of words, something to feel about. It is an interesting novel, a must-read if I may name it so. I really enjoyed reading On the Road and I strongly recommend it to you in order to discover another side of life, in order to discover a very interesting and modern cultural movement and in order to learn some life lessons.

On the Road is quite a minimalistic novel, focused on a simple moral and aesthetical expression, based on life experience, showing that the Beat movement deserves a place in the culture of the second half of the 21st century.

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‘To kill or not to die’ – A story about friendship, closure and choice. A deep story told in a comic accent.

Stand Up Guys is a 2012 crime comedy film directed by Fisher Stevens, written by Noah Haidle, starring Al Pacino as Val, Christopher Walken as Doc and Alan Arkin as Hirsch. The film tells the story of Val, who is released after serving 28 years in prison, and his old friend and partner, Doc, who must kill him by 10 AM the next day.

Deciding that he can’t erase the friendship between them, Doc takes Val out for one last night, which turns into the biggest adventure of both their lives. In a moral level, the main premise is represented by the inner conflict of either to kill or not to kill your best friend. This assumption can be seen from multiple points of view and reflects multiple attitudes as well: ethics, relations, nature and choices, mainly those problems and torments that makes us humans.

Seeing Doc’s face make me wonder: how much can he take?…There is a lot of pressure of him. Powerful conflicts torment his heart. If Val seems more “reconciled”, he looks a lot more “tempestuous”. You can see that in his eyes. I commiserate him…

“They say we die twice. Once when the breath leaves our body, and once when the last person we know says our name.”

Doc is an introspective and insightful character, latent, deep at most. You can sense that he carries a big burden on his old shoulders, but he manages to handle the situation well and his denouement brings a strong moralizing effect. Doc is a polyvalent character with multiple layers and conflicts, not only the choice to kill Val, but also the awareness of what he must confront and what he has to choose. Doc is driven by his moral conflicts, he reflects most of the dramatic potential of this film.

Seeing this picture of Val makes me wonder: what kind of man is he?. Behind that comic layer lies a deep and sensitive soul. He is a man of contrasts, a fickle and versatile character. He is comic on the outside and deep on the inside…Just look at his face and you’ll understand…

“- It’s time to kick ass or chew gum.
– And guess what? I’m all out of gum.”

Val is a playful and living character, expressive, deep if he wants to be so. Released after a 28 years sentence in prison, he is put against one major torment: the lack of time. He is driven by the desire to recover the time he had lost and he has only one night to make it count. The dramatic moments let us see the sensible layer of Val and a representation of our human transience. Val is a man of contrasts, a fickle and versatile character. He is comic on the outside and deep on the inside, he is the one that drives the film into action, while Doc is the one that handles the drama.

Just like the old times…a good feeling of remorse comes out of this…

“- Hey pal, it’s like the old days, isn’t it?
– No, it’s better.”

Stand Up Guys is a great combination between comedy and drama. There are funny moments, but there are also deep moments. There are multiple layers of action. The film is seen as a comedy from the desire of Val to do everything in one night and from the events he drags Doc into. The drama of the film arises out of the moral conflicts and ideational aspects like closure, choice, friendship and integrity. The script is built as a comic story on the outside, and dramatic on the inside.

The atmosphere of the film is interesting as well and I noticed one brilliant quote that say something like: “I like working in the night when everybody else is asleep. It gives me a feeling of…being alive”.

Bottom line, Walken and Pacino carry on their backs the whole movie. They manage to add a great momentum and raise this picture out of its category.

My rate: 8.5/10

The trailer of Stand Up Guys

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Futility

"Futility of futilities, all is futile"

Sorry

"Live to the point of tears"